One of my husband’s favorite treats in the winter is to go out to Panera Bread and get their broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl. We usually don’t get there until after we’ve been to the gym in the evening, and they always seem to be out of the bread bowls. But that’s okay, neither one of us needs the extra calories anyway. I thought this simple soup must be really easy to make at home, so I looked around and found a few copycat recipes. I adapted the recipe a little to save on calories and to make it foolproof, so the soup doesn’t separate. To ensure it doesn’t separate, don’t heat it again after adding the cheese. Depending on the cheese, sometimes it will split and sometimes it won’t, you just never know. I like to side with safety and not let the soup boil again after adding the cheese, the same way you would treat a soup you finish with cream. This copycat recipe of the broccoli cheddar at Panera Bread is not exactly the same, but it’s pretty close. I use milk instead of half and half or cream to make it lighter in calories. I also used almond milk to make it even lighter for us. It’s very tasty and goes great with some crusty bread.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 medium onion, diced small
2 cups matchstick cut carrots
2 heads of broccoli, just the florets cut off
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups milk
4 cups or 16 oz cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
salt and fresh cracked pepper (go a little heavy on the pepper)
1. Add carrots and broccoli to a saucepan. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are very tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.
2. In a large soup pot, add butter and onion. Add salt and pepper. Saute over low heat until onions are tender. Add flour and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add milk and whisk constantly until mixture starts to come to a boil. Then add chicken stock and vegetables. Add nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Then remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Don’t bring to a boil again because it may separate.