We went to Panera last night after a failed attempt to get hubby a new cell phone (he’s so indecisive!). You know, since I’ve been a teetotalling incubator and husband has been joining me in my non-drinking ways, dinners out have gotten a lot cheaper. So I admit I was a bit surprised that our Panera bill was as high as it was. (Admission: I DID get myself 2 rather expensive drinks. AND I realized that my pregnancy-induced cold beverage obsession will soon be over – which will save us lots of money…)
I knew I had a recipe for Panera-ish broccoli cheddar soup saved somewhere. So today, I dug it up and made it. It isn’t hard – a lot of the steps can take place at the same time. And it IS delicious. If I had the energy (Sarky = 9 months pregnant, in case I haven’t mentioned that 4000 times by now) I would have thrown together a beer bread, or some sort of quick bread to go with. It makes a good amount of soup – perhaps 8 servings? I used the recipe from The Curvy Carrot with a few modifications.
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 1 T. olive oil (the recipe called for all butter, but my butter was frozen so I used some olive oil instead – you really don’t need the oil… or that much butter)
- 1 small onion diced
- 1/4 C. flour
- 1 C. whole milk
- 1 C. heavy cream (really, you could modify this too – use half and half or just use all milk)
- 3 C. broth (I used chicken broth to make it a little richer, but I know veggie broth would work well here too)
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 carrots grated
- 4 C. broccoli florets (I used fresh and chopped them up, but frozen would work in a pinch too)
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar, cubed (I used grated supermarket cheddar, because I had it on hand. Still yummy. Though I’m sure some really good cubed sharp cheddar would be even better!)
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and oil and saute the diced onion until it is translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Stir frequently so they don’t brown too much. Take them off the heat and set aside.
- Cook the broccoli and carrots. (Don’t kill ’em. I steamed mine until just cooked. After all, you’re going to be putting them in hot soup, you don’t want to make mush. I tossed mine in my Pampered Chef microwave steamers. Worked great!)
- In a large Dutch oven or sauce pot over medium heat, whisk together the flour, milk, and cream until smooth. (If it seems lumpy, just keep whisking.)
- While whisking, add the broth until integrated.
- Add the nutmeg and bay leaves, and let the mixture simmer over very low heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
- Add the cooked onions, broccoli, and carrot. Let simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Take off the heat and add the cheese and stir until completely melted, adding more broth if necessary.
- Salt and pepper to taste! You’ll probably find that the cheese and broth make the soup plenty salty, but a little pepper is yummy.
As Sarky T’s Mama would say, “Nom, nom, nom.”