Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This soup is a fall and winter staple at our house.  In fact, I posted about it in my first blog post ever.  I am reluctant to do this but here is the link: Number One.  Please refrain from laughing/judging.  I had no idea what I was doing! Umm, I still don't.

Anyway, this soup is pretty stinking close to the real deal.  I found it ions ago (aka probably 3 years ago) in the Food Network Magazine.  I thought it was worth a try and we have been slurping it up ever since.  
As many good things start...this one does with butter.
Chop up a small onion while your butter melts.
Add the onions to the melted butter.  Let these cook for about three minutes or until they become translucent. 
Add in the flour
And stir it around to coat all of the onions.  Cook the "flour taste" out of the flour for about two minutes as well.  Keep stirring, you don't want that to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Talk about a mess...
Pour in the half and half
And chicken stalk.
Then the seasonings.  A few bay leaves, black pepper, salt (not pictured because it sunk) and nutmeg--the secret ingredient.  Anyone else say that like the guy on Iron Chef?  No? Okay, moving on...Let this simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare your broccoli.  Clean it and cut it into small florets.
Prep the carrots as well.  Peel and slice into bite sized discs.
After 20 minutes, add the broccoli

And carrots.  
Let this simmer for another 15-20 minutes depending on how you like your veggies.  I'm not a fan of soggy soup veggies so I was closer to the 15 minutes.  Do what you like.
Meanwhile, grate some cheese.  Yeah, I know, this isn't sharp cheddar cheese.  I totally thought I had some in my fridge...turns out it was of the speckled variety...oh well.
After the veggies are cooked to your taste, remove the bay leaves...all of them.
This step is optional but I like to do it.  Remove half of the veggies into a bowl
And blend the heck out of the remaining soup.  If you don't have one of these handy immersion blenders, just pour the remaining soup (probably in batches) into a blender.  It serves the same purpose...If you want a totally chunky soup, skip this step completely.  I won't judge.
Add the whole veggies back to the pot
And toss in the grated cheese.
Stir and heat all the way through.
Ladle into bowls.
And dig in.
That is a bite of broccoli cheese deliciousness.

Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1/4 flour
2 cups half and half (fat free is okay but the consistency is a little different--it still tastes good)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 bay leaves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup carrots, cut into bite sized discs
2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese + additional for topping

Start by melting the butter in a large pot.  Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes to get the floury taste out.  Pour in the half and half and chicken broth.  Add the bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Let this simmer on low, covered for about 20 minutes.

After twenty minutes, add the broccoli and carrots.  Let this simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes or until they have reached your desired doneness.

After the veggies have cooked, remove half of them into a different bowl.  Using an immersion blender or regular blender working in batches, blend the veggies until smooth.  Return the whole veggies into the pot.

Add the cheese and heat through.  If the soup is too thick, add additional chicken broth.

Sprinkle and serve with cheese on the top.


Recipe slightly adapted from: Food


  1. Lets skip dinner out and you just cook this for me ok? :)

  2. You would be happy to know that Joe just made this for dinner. He said that the pictures made it easy for him to follow directions :)

    1. That does make me SUPER happy! Glad that he could take advantage of the step-by-step pictures! : )


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