Broccoli cheddar soup

The soup minus the sourdough bread bowl

Did you know that as the weather cools, our bodies start craving comfort foods? I think there are two reasons for this. First of all, cooler weather reminds us of the holiday season (Thanksgiving and Christmas) where comfort foods are served. Secondly, our bodies experience a physiological change in external temperature, and hearty foods help our bodies warm back up. (Okay, so I pulled this last reason out of my butt, but I’m willing to bet there’s something to it.) So here is the first of many comfort recipes to come.

When I first met my husband and we were just friends (well, I thought we were friends–he was trying to court me), we used to go to Panera Bread together to take advantage of their free wifi and do some work. His absolute favorite thing to order there was the broccoli cheddar soup that comes in the sourdough bread bowl. Even when we weren’t anywhere near a Panera Bread, he would go out of his way to drive there and order it.

This is why I was happy to find the knock-off on the Food Network Magazine online. Now we can control how much salt and butter goes into the soup and, better yet, save a good chunk of change.

It’s a fairly simple recipe. I had John taste the final product, and he approved, saying it was very similar to Panera Bread’s recipe. Sweet! So now if the Blind can Cook it, so can you.

Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Bread Bowl Soup

Summary: A knock-off of Panera Bread’s recipe


  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. half & half
  • 3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 7″ sourdough bread bowls (round loaves)
  • 1 head broccoli, stems removed (about 4 c.)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & diced
  • 2.5 c. sharp white & yellow cheddar, grated


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Then gradually whisk in half &half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Season with salt & pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare bread bowls by cutting a circle in the top of each loaf with a sharp knife, leaving a 1″ border all around. Remove bread top and hollow out loaves, leaving a thick bread shell.
  3. Add broccoli florets and carrots to broth mixture and cook until tender, about another 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves and puree broth mixture in food processor or blender until smooth. There will still be chunks of broccoli and carrots. Return soup to saucepan.
  4. Add cheese to soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. If soup is too thick, add up to 3/4 c. water. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Serve in bread bowls and garnish with grated cheese.

Quick Notes

The original recipe calls for 4 servings, but who can really eat that much cheesy soup? I’d say it can feed 6.

Cooking time (duration): 70

Diet type: Vegetarian

Meal type: lunch

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

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2 Discussion to this post

  1. […] is also a good time to start cooking up that comfort food–as I mentioned in my previous broccoli cheddar soup post, we start craving comfort foods as the weather […]

  2. Thanks master chief for nice recipes! Hope to learn more from your blog…

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