Whether you’re a fan of Panera Bread or simply love a warm, comforting bowl of soup, this Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is just what you need. It’s the perfect blend of vegetables, cheese, and spices that brings together a classic American favorite. This delicious soup is easy to make and offers a hearty meal for the whole family. In this article, we will explore the ingredients, steps, and some fascinating history and curiosities about this popular dish.
To make the Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup, gather the following ingredients:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 medium-sized carrots)
- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Follow these simple steps to create a delicious and comforting Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup:
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the 1/4 cup of unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then, add the broccoli florets and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth and let the vegetables cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- In a separate saucepan, melt an additional 1/4 cup of butter. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Gradually whisk in the 2 cups of half-and-half to the flour mixture and bring to a simmer. Allow the mixture to thicken for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese, allowing it to melt.
- Add the cheese sauce to the pot with the vegetables. Stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, and dry mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Using an immersion blender or a standard blender, carefully blend the soup to your desired consistency. If you prefer a chunkier soup, you can skip this step.
- Serve hot in bowls, garnished with additional shredded cheddar cheese and crusty bread, if desired.
History and Curiosities
Broccoli Cheddar Soup is deeply rooted in the American culinary scene, and Panera Bread’s version is especially famous for its creamy, rich flavors. However, the concept of mixing cheese with vegetables in a soup has been present in European cuisine for centuries.
It’s believed that the origins of broccoli cheddar soup can be traced back to the UK, where cooks have long been combining various types of cheese with broccoli and other vegetables in a velvety, comforting dish. Cheddar cheese, which hails from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, has been produced since the 12th century and adds a sharp and distinct taste to this soup.
As for Panera Bread, this popular bakery-café chain started in 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri, under the name St. Louis Bread Company. The company was later renamed to Panera Bread, and it quickly gained popularity due to its delicious breads, pastries, and soups. Their Broccoli Cheddar Soup has become a favorite, and its fame has spread across the United States.
As you can now recreate this iconic dish at home, the next time you’re craving a warm, comforting bowl of soup, remember that you can whip up this copycat recipe and enjoy a taste of history while celebrating American culinary tradition.