We finally got the first rain of the season this week. It was a nice change from California’s sweltering temperatures lately. Plus, everyone knows that rain is officially soup weather! So I’m going to roll with it and completely ignore the weatherman’s claims that it’ll be 98 degrees again on Monday. Lies! All lies! Aaaaaaand now that we’ve firmly established that I live in a magical fantasy world, I’ll be sharing my family’s favorite soup recipe.
Living in the mountains, we’re a couple hours away from most of our favorite restaurants. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time testing “copycat” recipes for some of our favorite dishes… Then converting them into slow cooker recipes… because, well, I’m lazy (I also have four kids but mostly I just like to blame them when I can’t get anything done). This recipe for Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheese Soup is a favorite around here. Not only is it completely meatless, but it’s still incredibly filling and tastes amazing. It’s also one of the few recipes that I can make entirely out of WIC and dollar store groceries, so it frequently surfaces during particularly rough financial times.
My recipe is based on this recipe from Food.com, but doubled to last us a few days and altered for the crock. Hopefully you appreciate it as much as we do…
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- 2 cans (4 cups) chicken stock
- 1 lb fresh broccoli, chopped
- 2 cups carrot, chopped
- 4 cups half and half
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 lb sharp cheddar, shredded
- salt and pepper
- In a medium sauce pan, saute onion in butter over medium high heat. Add flour. Stir continuously with whisk for two minutes. Add the chicken stock while whisking. Continue whisking until combined and heated through.
- Add the chicken stock mixture to the slow cooker with the broccoli and carrots. Cook on low for 3-4 hours (or 1-2 hours on high). Slow cookers can vary drastically in temperature and cooking speed so I suggest checking the soup after the first hour to determine how much longer yours will require. The broccoli needs to be soft enough to eat comfortably.
- Carefully add the half and half, nutmeg and shredded cheese to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Allow it to cook another 20 minutes to heat through then salt and pepper to taste.
- Eat. Yum.