Friday, January 7, 2011

Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup

When we left Denver to move to the country I had no idea how much I would miss my favorite restaurant. I discovered Panera Bread only months before we left and it was love at first taste. We hadn't lived here long before I started craving their delicious broccoli cheddar soup and I began my search for the next best thing. I never would have guessed I would find it in my own kitchen.

My food-and-recipe-loving-mother-in-law, who no doubt heard me raving about Panera Bread (over and over and over again), found this recipe in one of her cookbooks (called America's Most Wanted Recipes) and brought it over to me with a note that said "Jenny (that's what she calls me) - when I saw this I thought of you." She knows me so well.

I admit I was a little skeptical at first about how good it would be in comparison to the real deal and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. It is by far the best broccoli cheddar soup recipe I've ever tried and it really is a very close likeness to the real thing.

So here's what you'll need:

Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1/2 medium onion, chopped
5 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/4 C. flour
2 C. half and half (I never said it was healthy)
2 C. chicken broth
8 oz. broccoli, chopped
1 C. shredded carrots
salt & pepper to taste
2 C. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 3-4 minutes st iring frequently.

2. Slowly add half and half while whisking. Add broth while still whisking. Simmer 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile chop onion and saute in 1 Tbsp. butter. *Chop broccoli and grate carrots.

4. add veggies to the saucepan and continue simmering for additional 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.

5. Add salt & pepper to taste (I usually add between 1/2 to 1 tsp. of salt and just a few shakes of pepper)

6. **Add cheese and stir until well blended.

7. Stir in nutmeg. Serve hot.

Serves: Approximately 5

*The original recipe says to chop broccoli coarsely. Later in the directions just before you add the cheese (**) the instructions say to put the soup in a blender and then return to the pot and add the cheese. I don't like this method because 1. I like my soup to have some chunk and 2. I've had
Panera Bread and I know for a fact that they have chunk. However, blending does make it creamier. So here's what I suggest: Chop the broccoli as finely or coarsely as you want. If you like some chunk but want it creamier put only half of the soup in a blender and then return it to the pot. It's not going to change the taste so make the soup as creamy or as chunky as your taste buds like.

This recipe is so yummy that even my 3 yr old and 18 month old love it. And they are both picky eaters so you know it must be good!

And what is soup without bread? For me the two go hand in hand. So here is a recipe adapted from Our Best Bites for Garlic Bread sticks.

Bread sticks:
1 1/2 C. warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 Tbsp. salt
Approx. 3-4 1/2 C. flour

Garlic Bread Seasoning:

Mix together in bowl:
1/2 C. powdered parmesan cheese
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley

1. Combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes until yeast is bubbly.

2. Add salt & stir

3. Add 1 1/2 C. flour and mix well

4. Gradually add more flour until you reach the right consistency (dough pulls away from bowl and barely sticks to fingers).

5. Spray a bowl with nonstick spray and place dough in bowl. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.

6. Spray your baking sheet.

7. Lightly flour your surface. Sprinkle approximately 1/8 - 1/4 C. of garlic bread seasoning on the dough and knead it in. Roll dough into a rectangle shape.

8. Cut dough in 12 strips (width wise) with a pizza cutter.

9. Roll each strip into a snake then drape the snake in half over your forefinger. Use your other hand to twist the two sides around each other.

10. Place your twists on your sprayed baking sheet.

11. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
12. Preheat oven to 425*. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
13. When the bread sticks come out of the oven immediately brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with more garlic bread seasoning and serve warm.
Talk about the perfect winter meal! And you know what this means, right? I don't need to go to Denver anymore!

Haha. Just kidding. I still miss the shopping!

P.S. If you are looking for a yummy desert to top it off try THIS.

Linking up to This party and This party


Sally said...

You know how you always want what you can't have? I really want this right now! I'm pretty sure half and half and cheese aren't part of Josh's diet though. Maybe I can make a batch just for me and keep it hidden in the fridge!

AradiaDiane said...

I just met you (linked over from Just a Girl), but I think I may have found my soul mate. I could eat Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup three times a week and not feel guilty about the calories. The cost, maybe, but definitely not the calories. It's so delicious!

Natalie said...

I just ate at Panera for the first time over Thanksgiving, it was delicious! I didn't try their Broccoli Cheddar Soup, but I'm sure it's delightful. Can't wait to try it out!

Thanks for sharing!

Dee dee said...

Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try it. Thanks to Marilyn too. I'm glad you have a mother-in-love like I do.

Chiara said...

I always click on a soup recipe, and this is one of my favorite kinds. For sure this will be on the meal list for next week! Thank you for sharing--delish!

Amy said...

I just made this. It was really good. I added a touch of smoked paprika and loved it! It almost tasted like I used a bit of smoked yummy!

Amy said...

oh and if you don't have or don't want to use half and half just use evaporated milk.

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