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Cheesy Broccoli Soup in a Bread Bowl

This creamy, cheesy broccoli soup tastes just like the one served at Panera Bread! My family requests it all the time. You can even make your own homemade bread bowls with the recipe on my blog, Yammie's Noshery. —Rachel Preus, Marshall, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water or additional chicken stock
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 small round bread loaves (about 8 ounces each), optional
  • Optional toppings: Crumbled cooked bacon, additional shredded cheddar cheese, ground nutmeg and pepper

Directions

  • In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat butter over medium heat; saute onion and garlic until tender, 6-8 minutes. Stir in broccoli, carrot, stock, cream and seasonings; bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 10-12 minutes.
  • Mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into soup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in cheese until melted.
  • If using bread bowls, cut a slice off the top of each bread loaf; hollow out bottoms, leaving 1/4-in.-thick shells (save removed bread for another use). Fill with soup just before serving.
  • If desired, serve soup with toppings.

Test Kitchen tips
  • These make for a hearty meal on their own but are also delicious as appetizers. Smaller, sturdy breads such as hard rolls are a good choice.
  • Be a smooth operator. Avoid gritty cheese sauces by allowing soup to cool slightly before you add cheese. Stir in a little at a time until it melts in.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cup (calculated without bread bowl): 422 calories, 32g fat (19g saturated fat), 107mg cholesterol, 904mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 17g protein.