This is now, hands down, my favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe. The carrot in it just gives it something totally amazing. I only added half the cheese stated in the recipe and it was plenty cheesey. Also, if you've got an immersion blender, now is the time to pull it out. I don't have one, but totally wish I did.
Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ozs. grated sharp cheddar
Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.
Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux).
Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now.
Pour in batches into blender and puree.
Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended.
Stir in the nutmeg and serve.
We liked it with some crusty rolls!