I have an unhealthy addiction to Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl (I have an unhealthy addiction to fresh, warm bread in general). But the soup is great too; perfect for cold, rainy days when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good movie. It was one of those cold, rainy days when I decided that I wanted broccoli cheddar soup, but I didn’t want to go out into the crummy weather to get it. So, I decided to create my own. I made bread bowls using Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day dough that I had in the fridge – and by the way, have you heard that authors Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg are coming out with a new book? It’s called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it’s full of delicious whole wheat and even gluten-free recipes. You could make your bread bowls using their master whole wheat bread recipe, and they’d be even healthier and just as delicious. Try it out this weekend! Here’s what you’ll need for the soup:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 lb fresh broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup carrot, shredded and chopped
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces grated colby jack cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
First, prepare the bread bowls. To make two bread bowls, I took half a batch of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day boule dough out of the container in my refrigerator and divided it in half again. I let the dough rest on a floured pizza peel on my counter for about 40 minutes. While you’re waiting, make sure your baking stone and broiler pan are in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
For the soup, sauté the onion and garlic in the butter over medium heat.
Remove the onions and add in the flour, stirring constantly. Add in the half and half, milk, and chicken stock. Bring to almost a boil.
Add the onion and garlic back in, along with the broccoli and carrots. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, bake the bread for 30 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool. When the bowls are still a little warm, cut out the centers.
Season the soup with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cardamom. Stir in the cheeses (and you can play around with the amounts; use however much or little you like) and let simmer for 10 minutes longer before serving. Pour the soup into the bread bowls, and enjoy!