Broccoli and chedar soup ( Panera Bread version?)


A while ago, a friend of mine had posted a "Panera bread" recipe for broccoli and cheddar soup, but unfortunately I've lost the link, so when I decided to actually try the recipe, I had to look it up myself.
It is a pretty basic "cream" soup, so I Googled it and the first link that popped up seemed OK, so I gave it the try. I have made couple of "adjustments" to my liking and knowledge, if you want to check out the original recipe, click here.
It is a really nice soup, but we are soup lovers :-) Here it is:

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup melted butter
1 cup flour
4 cups half-and-half
1/2 pound fresh broccoli ( you can use frozen ones as well)
2/3 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
16 ounces grated sharp cheddar( better orange than white)

Preparation.
In a large pan heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on a medium heat, then gently melt the 2 tablespoons butter in it. Lower the heat if you have to, you don't have to burn the butter! It would give unpleasant flavor to the soup later. Add chopped onion and saute for 1-1.5 min, until golden in color. Add the carrots and stir well, let it stand on the stove for another minute, then place the lid on the pan and set it aside.
In a separate pan on a medium heat "bake" the flour while constantly stirring. It has to change its color until it becomes slightly brownish pink color- NOT DARK brown though! Be very careful not to burn it! Add the melted butter and cook for couple of seconds then stirring constantly slowly add the half-and-half (you can very well use whole or regular milk as well). Simmer for 5 min on very low heat while stirring from time to time.

* If you are using frozen broccoli, add 1 cup water to the onions and carrots mix, then boil and add the frozen broccoli. Stir and when the broccoli change color, with immersion blender( or a regular blender) puree until creamy.

* If using fresh broccoli, add them to the onion and carrot mix and steam over low heat until they change color and become softer. Puree with an immersion blender until creamy

To the onion, carrot and broccoli add the butter, flour and half-and-a-half mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Cook over low heat ( do not let it boil!!) until the veggies are tender ( aprox. 20 min).Add the grated cheddar cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.
I personally added a tablespoon of sour cream and a dill leaf. It was a really nice touch.
Enjoy!

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