Last week’s foggy and cold weather ushered in autumn, meaning different things for different people. Whether it meant it was time to start rewatching “Gilmore Girls,” ordering pumpkin spice lattes or searching up Halloween costume ideas, fall has plenty of cozy things in store. For me, it signaled the start of my favorite time of year: soup season. Tomato, Italian wedding, clam chowder, butternut squash — you name it, I love it. Don’t even get me started on the wonders of sourdough bread bowls.
But I can’t deny that broccoli soup has a special place in my heart. There’s something inherently comforting about the earthy, cheesy flavors. I grew up stopping by Panera Bread after winter soccer games for a quick cup of soup to warm me up. Unfortunately for Isla Vista residents, the closest Panera is about 40 miles away in Ventura, meaning it’s up to you to recreate their classic cup of broccoli cheddar. Luckily, my mom’s broccoli soup recipe is here to save the day. While it’s not a total replica of Panera’s hit recipe, the twist of Gruyère and nutmeg, dare I say, puts it over the top.
As an added bonus, this easy recipe packs in two types of vegetables. And if you hate broccoli, try swapping it out with cauliflower. Either way, the next time your parents call, you can make them proud and say you’ve actually eaten a vegetable in the past 24 hours.
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup diced onions
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 large broccoli crown, diced
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- In a large stock pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Whisk in flour to form a roux until the mixture is smooth.
- Slowly add half-and-half and chicken broth to the roux, mixing frequently. Simmer for around 20 minutes.
- In a small skillet, brown the onions in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
- When the cream mixture is finished simmering, add the browned onions, carrots and broccoli. Simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Mix in salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- If you want to achieve the characteristic green color, let the soup cool, then blend until puréed. If you prefer a more rustic soup, skip this step.
- Return to heat and mix in the cheese. Serve immediately!
The next time you finish a long day of classes and bike rides in the cold, warm yourself up with a cozy blanket and a cup of soup. I am definitely a part of the soup-and-grilled-cheese-combo fan club, but if you’re feeling lazy, a slice of crusty bread is also perfect for dipping. Then all you need is your favorite nostalgic TV show, and you’ll achieve perfect fall vibes.
A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the October 13, 2022 version of the Daily Nexus.