Panera Bread does not publish the recipe for its Broccoli Cheddar soup, but there are many recipes available online that imitate the menu item. To prepare, begin by sautéing half of a medium onion in 1 tablespoon of melted butter, then set the onions aside when they are finished.
Next, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large soup or stock pot and add 1 tablespoon of flour. Whisk together over medium heat for three to four minutes, then slowly add 2 cups of half-and-half cream and 2 cups of chicken stock, whisking continuously. When the mixture is fully incorporated, simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 1 cup of julienned carrots, 1/2 pound of fresh chopped broccoli and the reserved onions to the pot and let them cook on medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add 8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Continue simmering on medium-low until the cheese is melted.
The soup may then be served as-is, or if a smoother consistency is preferred, process the soup in a blender or food processor. Serve with additional cheddar as garnish and a side of bread or crackers.