Sunday, November 25, 2012

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Panera is one of my very favorite places to go for lunch.  So many options and choices, and everything is pretty delicious.  Bonus points if I go with Caroline and she wants their macaroni and cheese. :)  I almost always go with the "You Pick Two," and while one of my choices varies based on the day, season, and my mood, my second pick is always the broccoli and cheddar soup.  Yes, I know it is approximately 4,000 calories and a mega sodium-bomb.  I just love it so much, and I try and balance it out by going with a salad or one of the lighter sandwich options.

Yet, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I've never tried making it myself before now.  Sure, it's still not exactly light and healthy, but it is nice to know exactly what's in it, and I can control the decadence myself by altering the milk:cream ratio.  You could also keep the portions small and serve it with a light salad.

It is creamy, cheesy, and totally comforting.  This was a major hit with everyone in my family, and I enjoyed it for several days for my lunch.  Since we moved, the closest Panera isn't very convenient, which I suppose is a blessing and a curse.  However, now that I can make my own version of their soup, it's not such a bad thing.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
adapted from Annie's Eats

I like my soup to be mostly smooth with a bit of texture, so I used my immersion blender to puree most of it, while keeping the rest chunky.

  • 6 Tbs butter, divided
  • ¾ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 4-5 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half or cream
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and carrots to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes.   Stir in the broccoli, chicken broth, onion salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

As the broccoli simmers, melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the flour and cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown, whisking constantly.  Whisk in the milk and cream and cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in the cheese until melted, and season with salt and pepper.

Use an immersion blender to puree most of the broccoli mixture (if desired).  Stir the cheese and milk mixture into the broccoli, and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Serve.


Blog is the New black said...

One of my favorites!

Jessica@AKitchenAddiction said...

This is perfect comfort food!

Angela @ AnotherBitePlease said...

mmmm...broccoli cheddar soup is one of my favorites!!

Dana said...

Broccoli cheddar soup is so heartwarmingly good. I've never made it at home before, thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Josie, this looks so good! I love Panera's BC soup as well. I have made Annie's version before and it is delicious! Your photos are beautiful! I am definitely making this before the week is over!

Joanne said...

I LOVE that soup of theirs! I've always avoided making it because of how much cheese goes into it...but as a once in a while treat it's really not that bad!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

This looks like the classic soup I grew up with. A total hit!

MaLinda said...

Do you suppose there's anyway I could just make a slurry of milk and flour and just add that until the flour taste is cooked out while simmering? I'm awful at making a roux but I really want to make this soup!

Josie said...

MaLinda, I don't think that would work as well - in my experience the slurry method is better suited for thickening smaller batches of things, like sauces. The roux is really easy, you should definitely give it a try!

Tina | My Life as a Mrs said...

Broccoli Cheddar Soup is my FAVORITE!! this looks delish! :)

A Cottage Chick said...

Just made this for lunch today and it blew my old recipe out of the water!! It is definitely going into my dinner rotation. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

I made this as part of our Christmas Eve celebration, doubling the recipe. It was a HUGE HIT! And it was completely gone by the end of the night. AWESOME soup!

Anonymous said...

Is it onion salt or onion powder? Just want to make sure because in the list of ingredients it lists onion powder but in the directions it says onion salt.

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