When we lived in Henderson, Panera Bread was one of our favorite places to eat. Mostly because my kids always at so well there and we loved all of the food. Their version of Broccoli Cheese soup has become our favorite and there are a lot of good copy cat recipes on line but I more or less follow this one.
Broccoli Cheese Soup (Panera Bread Copycat)
1 Tbs melted butter
1/2 med chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half cream (I always just use milk or sometimes rice milk for my non-dairy children)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli chopped small (I tend to use quite a bit more and sometimes have to add a little bit more liquid)
1 cup grated carrot
1/8- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (its weird but its what makes it panera)
1-2 bay leafs
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute onion in 1 Tbs butter and set aside. In a large pot whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 mins.
2. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken stock. add nutmeg and bay leaf and let simmer for 5 mins or less.
3. Add vegetables and sauted onion, let simmer on low for about 20 mins until all is tender.
4. Remove from the heat, remove bay leaf and stir in cheese until melted. and serve!