My son absolutely loves the broccoli-cheddar soup from Panera. I recently found out that there are Panera soups available for sale at our local grocery store. I bought the broccoli-cheddar Panera soup from the store last week. My son was thrilled with it. He wanted it again but when I went to the store they were all out of the broccoli-cheddar. He doesn't like any of the other Panera soups so I thought I would try making a copycat version of the Panera soup. This is the recipe I found on the internet. Try it yourself. I liked it but my son told me he said he liked it just so I wouldn't feel bad. I really don't think it tastes like the Panera soup but it is good broccoli-cheddar soup.
Almost-Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
By Food Network Magazine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 7-inch sourdough bread boules (round loaves)
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2-1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the bread boules: using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, and then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.
3. Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you’ll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)
4. Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to ¾ cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into the bread boules and garnish with cheese.