Growing up in St. Louis, Bread Co was a staple for as long as I can remember. If you’re not familiar with Bread Co, you maybe know it as either Saint Louis Bread Company, or more likely, Panera. Yes, Panera is a St. Louis original, and the same exact fast-casual restaurant goes by a different name everywhere else. No matter what you call it, there’s a lot to love at Panera, especially after their recent commitment to be 100% clean-eating friendly.
I think I can safely say that Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup is most people’s fave menu item. And while I’ll hit up Panera to satisfy my craving, I’m no longer a short 5-minute drive to the nearest location. So I decided to create my own homemade version. To my delight, this deliciously rich and creamy soup is soup-er easy to make and requires only the simplest of ingredients (catch that pun on super? lol). However, if you think this is a totally indulgent soup, it’s actually filled with lots of veggies (and veggie stock) combined with a simple roux, a touch of whole milk and a bit of freshly shredded cheese. Easy enough.
I recommend serving this classic soup with whole grain bread for dipping purposes. But the truly perfect pairing would be fresh sourdough. Mmm mmm good, am I right?
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Servings: 4 Start to Finish: 40 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, minced
sea salt, fine grain
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock (room temperature or warm)
1.5 cups whole milk
8 oz grated sharp white cheddar cheese (yellow cheddar works too)
2 teaspoons mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon white pepper, plus more to taste (you can also use black pepper to taste)
2.5 to 3 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets (approx. 2 large stalks, trimmed)
Heat olive oil & butter over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Cook until flour is no longer raw, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn.
Whisk in 1/2 cup vegetable stock, whisking vigorously until smooth. Gradually add remaining stock, whisking constantly. Add 1 teaspoon salt, white pepper and mustard powder. Bring to rolling simmer, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grate cheese and warm milk in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat.
Slowly whisk warm milk into stock mixture. Once well-combined, slowly add grated cheese into the soup, stirring constantly to avoid the cheese clumping together.
Once soup is smooth and simmering, add chopped broccoli. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until desired consistency is reached, stirring frequently to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pan.
* Broccoli Notes – I run my knife through the bud-portion of the broccoli floret and I dice the stalk portion of the broccoli floret
* Cheddar Cheese Notes – cheddar cheese is naturally white – early Americans dyed their cheese yellow to distinguish it from the crown’s white cheese – the tradition stuck around so now most Americans think cheddar cheese should be yellow – I always stick with white cheddar or naturally-colored yellow cheddar (like Cabot)