When the semester is in full-swing, you’ll often find me at Panera Bread, sprawled across an armchair in front of the gas fireplace. I can concentrate on my assignments without my children interrupting me and soak up some of that warmth; a pseudo-hominess in the most unlikely place.
Most of the time, I try to stick with coffee or tea–something refillable so I don’t feel too bad about the amount of time that I’ve spent with my butt glued to that chair. But as time passes, a meal becomes required; a fair trade for the productive afternoon. One of my faves is the broccoli cheddar soup. Mmmm… I almost never have soup at home, but there’s just something about it, paired perfectly with a piece of baguette. Absolutely wonderful on a cold winter’s day!
My last shopping trip to BJ’s found me in possession of a ridiculously enormous bag of fresh broccoli florets, just destined for greatness. A repeat trip today for chicken broth (6 boxes!) and cheddar cheese and I was ready to attempt a Panera copycat in my very own kitchen.
I found the recipe on Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures and it seemed a reasonable place to begin, but I will need to tweak it a bit more the next time I try this. It’s not that it’s bad–but it wasn’t quite the same. Maybe it was the low-sodium organic chicken broth I chose for my base? Regardless, it’s a great start and wouldn’t take much to reach perfection.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
adapted from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
makes 6-8 servings
5 cups broccoli florets
6 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk (best if you use full-fat or go for half-and-half for creaminess)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp +/- sea salt (to taste)
Steam the broccoli for 5-6 minutes until tender. (Very easy to do in the microwave!) Set aside.
In a 4 quart or bigger pan, combine chicken broth and milk and slowly whisk in the flour. Cook on medium-high heat until thickened, then add the broccoli. Cook for 5 more minutes, then add the cheese and salt. Once the cheese is melted, remove from heat and serve.