IOWA WEATHER, SOUP WEATHER

Let’s just say it’s cold today.

Gotta love Iowa weather.

So, to keep warm, I had a huge craving for soup. Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup to be exact. But, as you can imagine, I didn’t feel like leaving my apartment and venturing out in the cold abyss to get a hot cup of soup. So, thanks to the internet, I searched for a copycat recipe. Since Food Network is legit, I decided to try their recipe. And (surprisingly) I had all of the ingredients on hand except for two things- bay leaves and nutmeg. But, at this point, I wanted it so bad I just forged ahead and left those ingredients out. I had a bag of frozen broccoli and some baby carrots, and used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. The end result was pretty fantastic and just what I needed.

Here’s the recipe (with my changes):

Almost-Famous Vegetarian Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Ingredients6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
3 cups vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish

Directions
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the vegetable stock then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Puree half of the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you’ll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick.

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