Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a popular and delicious dish. Here’s a homemade version of the recipe:
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half-and-half cream
- 2 cups chicken broth (you can also use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional, but it adds a nice depth of flavor)
- Sauté the Onions: In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until they become translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add Flour: Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. This creates a roux, which will thicken the soup.
- Pour in Liquid: Gradually pour in the half-and-half while stirring to combine it with the roux. Then, add the chicken or vegetable broth, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Add Vegetables: Add the chopped broccoli and shredded carrots to the pot. Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. You can cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low during this step.
- Blend (Optional): If you prefer a smoother texture, you can use an immersion blender to puree some of the soup. Alternatively, transfer a portion of the soup to a blender (in batches) and blend until smooth, then return it to the pot.
- Add Cheese: Gradually add the shredded cheddar cheese to the soup, stirring until it’s completely melted and the soup is smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg if desired. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
- Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with additional shredded cheese if you like. Serve hot.
Enjoy your homemade Panera-style Broccoli Cheddar Soup! It pairs wonderfully with a nice crusty bread or a salad for a complete meal.