Embracing Motherhood Panera Bread Style Broccoli and Cheese Soup

How to Make Panera Bread Style Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I love, love, LOVE  broccoli and cheese soup, especially the Panera Bread style of broccoli and cheese soup that is all puréed and creamy. Since I’m not going to run out to Panera Bread every time that I want some of this delicious soup, I decided to make my own. I searched the Internet for copycat recipes and compiled my favorite parts into this recipe which includes all of the wholesome ingredients I love cooking with such as bone broth, raw milk, and organic vegetables!

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Chicken Stock (I always like making extra and keeping some in the freezer, but you might need to roast a chicken to make some fresh. If you do this, you could even purée some chicken to throw into the mix to make it an even heartier soup.)

    Frozen Chicken Stock

    Frozen Chicken Stock

  • 2 c. Raw Milk (I like letting the cream rise to the top and using that mostly, or I’ll get some organic half and half from the store.)
  • ¼ c. Flour (I like mine freshly ground.)
  • 1 Stick of Butter (½ c.) plus 2 T. (to sauté the onions)
  • 2½ c. Shredded Cheese (I like Colby Jack)
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Pods of Garlic
  • 2 Head of Broccoli (Or you can substitute with 2 c. of other vegetables such as carrots and celery.)

Directions

  1. Sauté the 2 T. of butter with the garlic and onion. I like peeling the garlic (crush with the side of your knife first for easy peeling) and mincing it with a knife or my handy dandy hand chopper (if I feel like cleaning it). You’ll be puréeing all of this later, so don’t worry about chopping it up super fine. Cook at a low to medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside until later. (I put mine in a little bowl because I always need my cast iron skillet available!)

    Sautéd Onions and Garlic

    Sautéd Onions and Garlic

  2. Steam all of the vegetables. By steaming the vegetables first, it will make them a lot easier to blend later! (*Note: When making this recipe, my sister skipped this steaming step by using her food processor to chop up all of the vegetables raw. She said it turned out great!) Coarsely chop up the broccoli (and the carrots and celery if you’ll be using them) and steam. Check out my tips and tricks for perfectly steamed broccoli here! Put in a big bowl to cool. *My steamer isn’t very big and I made a double recipe, so it took two batches of broccoli and one batch of carrots and celery to get the job done.
    Steamed Broccoli

    Steamed Broccoli

    Steamed Carrots and Celery

    Steamed Carrots and Celery

  3. Make the roux. Melt the stick of butter in your soup pot. Once it’s melted, add the flour and stir. Cook at low to medium heat (nice and bubbly) and continue stirring for about 3-4 minutes.

    Roux

    Roux

  4. Add the milk. Add slowly, stir often, and keep at a low to medium heat.
  5. Purée the vegetables with the chicken stock. While the milk is heating up, add small batches of steamed vegetables into the blender. I like blending my onions (that we set aside from earlier) too. Top off the blender with the chicken stock to make it blend easier. Add to the soup pot.
    Steamed Broccoli, Carrots, and Celery with Chicken Stock Ready to Blend

    Steamed Broccoli, Carrots, and Celery with Chicken Stock

    Turn the blender off and on repeatedly so that it is puréed, but blended as little as possible if you’re like me and want there to be a few little chunks in there to chew on!

    Pulse on Low

    Pulse on Low

  6. Add the cheese. Wait until the soup is good and hot before you add the cheese. You want it to melt right away.
  7. Cook for 20 minutes. Cook on a low to medium heat and continue to stir often. If it starts to bubble, turn the heat down a little bit. Let cool and serve. I find that this soup tastes better the longer it sits. This gives everything a chance to thicken and the flavors to really soak in.

    broccoli and cheese soup

    Broccoli and Cheese Soup