Saturday, November 10, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a Bread Bowl

In our present lack of Panera, I've been settling for Atlanta Bread Company. As a Georgia native, I want to have allegiances to ABC, but it just doesn't stack up to Panera, particularly in their lack of mac and cheese and the fact that they don't have broccoli cheddar soup every day. I can't handle the anxiety and potential disappointment of going to a restaurant and not knowing if they're going to have what I want. But, if this is my biggest problem, I consider myself very lucky. I have been craving broccoli cheddar soup AND a bread bowl, and I have a long workout planned for tomorrow so I thought I'd give this a whirl. It also helped that I only had to buy one ingredient.

For the bread bowl:

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp yeast
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cups flour

Mix the water, yeast, sugar, and vinegar and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it's bubbly. Add the salt and olive oil. Add one cup of flour at a time. I can usually mix 3 cups of flour with a fork before I have to start kneading it by hand. Knead the entire mixture for about 5 minutes, adding a little olive oil at a time if needed. Put the dough into a bowl, cover it with damp towel, and let it sit for half an hour. 

Divide the dough into six balls (more or less depending on how big you want your bread bowls) and put them on a greased baking sheet. Bake them at 375 for about 25 minutes. When they're done, cut a circle out of the top and scoop out it for the bowl. 

For the soup:

2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 bag 16-oz broccoli florets
2 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups fat free half & half
3 tbsp cornstarch
salt to taste

Bring the water and bouillon cubes to a boil and stir to combine. Heat the broccoli and 3/4 cup of water in the microwave for 6 minutes. Turn the temperature to low heat. Add about 1/4 of the broccoli to the broth and mash it with a potato masher. Add the rest of the broccoli (with the water), the cheese, and the half & half. Stir until the cheese melts. I added the cornstarch to thicken it up a bit since the fat free half & half isn't as thick as regular. Mix in a bit of salt too and let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes.

Ladle it into that hunk of carbs and enjoy!