Fall is almost here and I am so ready for it. This summer flew by! I hardly ever make soup in the summertime so I've been waiting to make this for a few months now. Have you ever been to Panera Bread? It's a bakery-cafe chain that is soooo yummy! If you haven't been you must try it! They're Cinnamon Crunch bagels are to die for. So is their broccoli cheddar soup! I was skeptical that Food Network was able to copy it but it tasted just like it. I didn't serve with sourdough bread bowls but Panera does that and it makes it even better. I made a bit of a mistake with this and blindly followed directions :) I should have checked the tenderness of the broccoli before blending it. It wasn't quite soft enough so the soup didn't taste as smooth as it should have. I was in a hurry ok?! So make sure the broccoli is very soft before starting the blending process!
ALMOST-FAMOUS BROCCOLI-CHEDDAR SOUP
(Food Network Magazine)
6 TB unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 C all-purpose flour
2 C half and half
3 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 C broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 C (about 8 oz total) grated sharp white AND yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
Melt 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 or 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.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. (Check it!) Discard the bay leaves. Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you'll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Our puree soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 C of water if the soup is too thick. Remember to taste test for seasoning! Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.
Tip: If you blend the soup in a blender you must follow these instructions. If not, you will have hot soup all over yourself and your kitchen! Pour only enough soup to fill the blender halfway. Leave the lid off or the smaller opening that is within the main lid. Cover with a kitchen towel and hold the towel on with your hand loosely. Blend. This allows steam to escape so you won't have a soup explosion :)