okay, yumm. to the nth degree. forget those other soups i've been talking about. this one is all i need. forever. what was i thinking when i dubbed myself 'not a big soup person'? seriously. give me a bowl of broccoli cheddar and i will be a happy girl. but it has to be good broccoli cheddar. a thing sometimes hard to find. that said, i really hit the jackpot with this recipe. i give you: broccoli soup for the panera-deprived soul. the closest copycat in town.
Panera Style Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 T. butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese
01. saute onion in 1 T. butter, set aside.
02. cook melted 1/4 c. butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half. add the chicken stock, whisking all the time. (you will get a tremendous arm workout by the time you're done.) simmer for 20 minutes.
03. add the broccoli, carrots, and onion. cook over low heat until the veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. add salt and pepper. the soup should be thickened by now. pour in batches into blender and give it just a few pulses. (you want it to have small lumps, not smithereens.)
04. return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended before serving.
just so you know, i was licking the ladle before i threw it in the sink. it is that good. no, really. it is. the velvety base, the sprinkles of carrot, the broccoli bits, the ribbons of cheddar... and all snapped up in a blender. oh. my. i don't even care that it looks like baby food.