Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

May 11, 2010

Broccoli…ranks right up there with spelling the word vacuum…and why I normally refer to it as “broc.” – it’s just easier.

Don’t even get me started on gray vs. grey…

I woke up this morning to dreary weather. It was gray/grey and overcast with a drizzle. Rain and high winds were slated for the afternoon. I knew the hub was riding his motorcycle to work, so I was worried about that …enter the never-ending headache’s return and I knew it was going to be a sucky Monday. No worries, I pressed on. I got to work just before the rain started really coming down.

It was definitely soup weather. This was confirmed when I got caught in the middle of the storm without an umbrella. By the time I got from building A to my car, I was soaked. It was at that moment that I decided to make soup for dinner.

On my way home from work, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up the bread for the bowls and some of the ingredients that I didn’t have on hand. I had come across a “Copy That!” recipe in the January/February Food Network Magazine for Panera’s Broccoli-Cheddar Soup. It just happens to be one of Hilly’s favorites, so I thought I’d try mastering it. She’s under the weather with a cold, so she couldn’t try it in person…but there was enough for the freezer for a later date.

The Ingredients:

Disclaimer: This is definitely not a low-fat soup…see all of those cubes of butter? Full fat half-and-half…yep! I was not going for healthy this evening. I was going for comfort. I can think of several ways to cut down on the goodness calories. Fat free half-and-half, reduced fat cheese, etc. Not sure there really is an etc., but there has got to be other ways.

6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Small Onion
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Half-and-Half
3 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Bay Leaves
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg (note: could use a grinder – birthday hint…)
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
7 inch Round Bread Bowls – the only fresh out of the oven ones were the Dutch Crunch – it was fine, but sourdough would be better
4 Cups Broccoli Florets (worked out to be one head)
1 Large Carrot, Diced
2 1/2 Cups (about 8 ounces) Grated Sharp White and Yellow Cheddar Cheese

I added the onion once the butter started melting over medium heat…cook onions until tender – about 5 minutes.

Adding the flour and juggling the camera one-handed proved to be a little difficult.

Whisk in the flour and cook until golden brown (took about 3 minutes)

Gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth – not exactly sure how you get it super smooth with the onions…but close enough.

Action shot…hold your excitement…I added the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg…

Then I seasoned with salt and ground pepper. I brought things to a simmer, reduced the heat to medium-low and then cooked uncovered until thickened – 20 minutes.

I diced up the carrot, shredded the cheese and got the broccoli florets ready for the pot.

I then got the bread bowls prepped and ready for filling…

I added the broccoli and diced carrots to the broth mixture and simmered until tender – it took just over 20 minutes.

I broke out my craptastic work horse of a blender…tried a smoothie blender and it sucked, this one has done just fine. I used a ladle to transfer the soup into the blender and then let it rip…(note: I just used the blend button – make sure you remove the bay leaves before the puree process) – I had to blend in two batches. Option 2 – if you have one, you can use an immersion blender right in the pot.

I then whisked the cheese into the green slop ūüėČ over medium heat. The recipe gives the option to add 3/4 cup water at this point, I didn’t need to do that, the consistency was perfect.

Soup is served! Yes, it really is that green.

I thought it really did taste like the Panera¬†soup. The only difference being that I don’t think Panera¬†purees it to the level that the “copy cat” recipe called for. Dan was not a fan of the texture. He prefers the Broccoli-Cheddar soup from Boudin Bakery¬†at Disney’s California Adventure Park. I will now be on the search for that recipe.

I got 4 servings out of the¬†batch and put 2 in the freezer for future lunches. Next time I think I’ll just drive to Panera to shell out $6.00 and some change.

All in all…I’m glad I tried it.¬†¬†


  1. Looks really good. Do you think it was too much trouble and that’s why you would just go to Panera next time? The trail mix in the back ground pic by the blender looks yummy too, ha!

    • I don’t think it was too much trouble – it basically only took about an hour from start to finish. I just probably wouldn’t go to the trouble mid work week just for myself. It’s definitely a weekend recipe so I could freeze portions, especially in the winter months. I would also probably try the more low fat route, since it would be just for me.

  2. After hearing your description on the phone last night, I was ready to put on pajamas and come get some of that soup! Sounds super delish, green and all.

  3. the breadbowl looks amazing!!

    yum yum….

  4. I love soups and that one definitely sounds YUMMY! It may not be as healthy as our broccoli cauliflower one, but much more sinful and comforting! I so wanted to rip off a piece of the bread and dip it into the soup and eat it! ūüôā

  5. This looks and sounds incredibly delicious and comforting. I will have to make note of this for when the weather cools down again!

  6. An immersion blender (I have a Cuisinart) is an absolute essential for soups. My first foray into soups almost cost me my eyesight as boiling hot liquid erupted out of the blender. Food processor was just as bad. Fortunately Bed Bath and Beyond is a mile away.
    Now to get Cozi to let me make some sinful soups.

    • I was afraid of the volcano action with the blender…I’ve seen it happen so many times on TV food competition shows – yes, must get myself an immersion blender.

  7. Looks yummy, but not sure I would ever take the time to actually make soup. Maybe if I was feeling really ambitious. I think I have an immersion blender – that’s the stick thing with the blade on the bottom? Well, it’s an attachment to my mixer – not a stand alone.

    And since you got me curious about grey vs gray – I had to look it up. It appears that grey is the British word and gray is the American word. Although I did see something that said that Americans tend to use gray for the color and grey as an addjective. I think I’ve always used grey.

    • The big stick with the blade at the end, hah! Hah! you crack me up Steph! The soup was definitely an undertaking, but I had fun doing it and thought it tasted great!

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