There are a few restaurants that make it on my families Must Eat At lists when we’re back visiting in the States. One of those restaurants that is on the top of my daughters list and thanks to her rather persuasive attitude we eat there more than any other restaurant no matter how long or short our visit is. That restaurant?
Yep! There’s nothing like it in China. I guess you could say Element Fresh is a contender but it’s missing one trademark dish that makes Panera the best… Broccoli Cheddar Soup!
Being the calorie counter that I am I usually just go for a spoonful of the soup from my kids’ bowl. They don’t notice. I don’t ask. No harm no foul.
I received a head of broccoli in my last Goma Greens order and I have lots of freshly grated cheddar cheese. In an effort to capture the throne of the World’s Best Mom I decided to forget about calories and copy this recipe down to the finest, most calorie rich details. I hopped onto Pinterest and found many, many, many copycat recipes. The one that looked the best sounded great, except the 2 cups of half-and-half it called for….
I don’t have half and half. I’m sure it’s available somewhere (probably CityShop) but I’m in no mood to go searching for it when I can make a fine substitute at home! That’s the thing about living abroad. Some of Americas finest ingredients like Cool Whip and half and half just aren’t readily available like they should be.
There are two substitutes that will work fine in this situation:
Use evaporated milk
Add 2T melted butter to a one-cup capacity measuring cup then fill the rest of the cup with milk.
Well I don’t have evaporated milk either so I was forced to resort to what was sure to be the higher calorie option.
Oh the things we do for our kids…
The only difference between this and what you get from Panera is the bread bowl. Sorry kids but you’ll have to make due with ripping off chunks of bread from a loaf of French bread. Oh the agony! Someone call CPS!
Perfect fix when there is no Panera's nearby!
- 1 tablespoon melted Butter
- ½ medium Onion, chopped
- ¼ cup melted Butter
- ¼ cup Flour
- 4 tablespoons melted Butter + enough milk to make 2 cups
- 2 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 1 pound fresh Broccoli, florets cut into bite size pieces and stem julienned
- 1 cup Carrot, julienned
- ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
- 12 ounces grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Saute the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside.
- In a large pot whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the half and half or substitute and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
- Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve.
For a smoother soup puree it in a blender... but I love the chunks!