Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup (copycat of Panera's)

This is one of my first copycat recipes that I went hunting for. Panera used to be my favorite lunch out when I worked, and spent more money than I care to remember on Cinnamon Crunch Bagels, and this soup with a Sierra Turkey sandwich.

I took both boys there for lunch while I was waiting for my car to get its oil changed a few months ago. The food was just as good, but it was a much different atmosphere trying to keep one child from crawling under the table and the other from throwing the dishes on the floor. Yes, much different...but still good. :)

This soup is a very easy meal to put together and a great way to use a big bag of frozen broccoli florets that I can get on sale. This only issue I've had with this soup is that it creates a bit of thick brown skin on the bottom of the pot, so at the end of the cooking time don't scrape the pot. Serve it up with bread, biscuits or breadsticks!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Panera Bread
from Top Secret Recipes
Serves: 4

3 cups broccoli florets
4 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups chix broth & 2 cups milk)
1 cup half and half (omit if using 2 cups milk)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 slices Kraft cheese slices (or approx 5.3 oz shredded cheddar cheese)
1/2 cup shredded carrots, chopped a little
1/3 cup diced white onions
Pinch ground  black pepper

Steam broccoli on a steamer basket in a covered saucepan over boiling water for 6 minutes. Remove broccoli to a chopping board until cool, then use a large sharp knife to dice broccoli into pieces that are about the size of peas. (To make it super easy, use a food processor)

Pour chicken broth into a large saucpan with the half and half. (or chicken broth and milk) Whisk in flour, and then add remaining inredients, including broccoli. Turn heat to medium, stirring often until mixture begns to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender and soup is thick.

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