Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Broccoli Soup

A skinnier Panera copycat recipe.

I don't know if you've ever tried it, but I love Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup. Introduced to me by my sister in law, it's become one of my favorite comfort foods to indulge on when I don't feel like making lunch myself. Or when I am out shopping somewhere and I'm starved for something and there just so happens to be a Panera near by.

Growing up my family was always big on soups. My aunt would often make an enormous pot of delicious scalding hot soup for the whole family when we were out helping her with something, or even as an easy meal for a family birthday gathering. She'd use whatever leftover vegetables she had from her vegetable garden or meat from one of her daughters farms to make delicious home made vegetable soup, or (my fave) Chinese tomato soup, with omelet strips, sprouts and sweetened with Ginger syrup. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

Later on in life when my dad took a step back from his job and had his precious Wednesdays off, he would invade my moms personal space, the kitchen, and take over for a day. Nine out of ten times fresh soup was on the menu. I don't know if this is a traditional Dutch meal combination, but to this day nothing makes me happier than a piping hot cup of soup, accompanied by crackers and cheese, fresh tomato crostini's or even better: fresh French bread with herb butter or egg salad. I guess I will have to share those recipes too at some point soon, am I right?
Back to the point though. When my sister in law first suggested I try Panera's Broccoli Cheddar soup and it was served to me in a bread bowl, I was sold. It was love at first sight. And taste.

Since I like soups so much I have been attempting to nail this soup ever since that first taste. But let me tell you, when you realize what it takes (cream, butter etc.) it made the soup somewhat less appealing to my workout regimen. So here's what I did, I adjusted the recipe so that it doesn't need any butter and still maintains its signature broccoli and cheese flavor.
Without further ado, here is the recipe.

Slim Broccoli soup
Makes: 4 bowls
  • 1 handful baby carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3/4 lbs. broccoli florets
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar or Gouda)
Dice up the baby carrots, onion and broccoli florets and add to chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Poor in a blender, add milk and cheese. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with a dash of salt and pepper.

If desired serve in a bread bowl with croutons. It's as easy as that.