What is better than a creamy cheesy warm soup on a cozy rainy day? Broccoli and Cheese Soup served up in bread bowls of course! Seriously everything is better with bread, am I right?
The first time I experienced the magic of a bread bowl was in San Francisco. I consider myself lucky to have my first bread bowl experience at Boudin Bakery. If you have never been there, add it to your list of San Fran must dos.
Walking into this monstrous bakery is at first a bit overwhelming. The first thing you notice is the smell. That intoxicating smell of bread fresh out of the oven. The slightly sour scent of fresh sourdough… it is a carb-lover’s heaven.
The second thing you notice are the bread buses slowly weaving around overhead. Pretty much the coolest way to transport bread I have ever seen. Large artfully baked loafs in baskets simply gliding from one corner of the bakery to the other. From the oven to the cafe counter, they are not carried by hand but arrive via the bread express.
Needless to say if you love love love artisan sourdoughs, this is the place for you.
The thing to get there… or so I had read, was the soup in a bread bowl. And since the bakery is on the bay, literally, the clam chowder was the way to go.
I do not know how to describe how good this was. Creamy, warm, satisfying. It tasted like the ocean was giving you the biggest warmest hug ever. And with every spoonful, the soup was slowly soaked up by the hearty crusty sourdough bread bowl. AHHHHHHH too much goodness… can’t even handle thinking about it.
Then after the soup, you eat the bowl. Wow.
Warning, I do remember feeling insanely full after this. But SOOOO worth it.
Since I can’t go back to San Francisco this second (WHY??!? 😭) I am making my version of the Boudin bread bowl soup.
Here is the deal. I love clam chowder. But looking at my fridge right now, I see no clams or heavy cream. Also I want to make something that is both adult and kid friend. I’m not making 2 meals you guys. No sir-y!
What I do have is…. BROCCOLI!
Let me break this down. Soup is beyond simple. Make a big batch the day of or the day before to make it extra easy. As for the bread, it is no-knead. I repeat, NO-KNEAD. Can I get a woot woot! And like most of my recipes, this is totally kid friendly. My little toddler bread monster, destroyed the soup and the doughy inside of the bread bowl.
This meal will blow your family away and seems really involved, but really the hardest part is serving the soup in the bowl without spilling. Or digging a hole in the bread bowls without eating the dough all before dinner!
Broccoli and Cheese Soup in Bread Bowls
Notes: Plan ahead. Since the dough needs to sit for 9-18 hours, either make the dough late the night before, or make it in the morning before you start your day. It takes about 3 minutes. Basically mixing water, yeast, flour and salt. Additionally when the dough is ready to bake, you will need time to preheat oven and bake breads which all takes about an hour.
Also note you need a cast iron pot or Le Creuset style enamel pot with lid for the bread recipe. This type of pot is essential as it traps all of the internal moisture in the dough and creates the steam you need to get a crisp crust.
Follow the recipe for my No Knead Bread until the end of the rising (9-18 hours). Heat oven to 450° degrees and place a cast iron pot with lid on in the oven. Let the empty pot heat for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface, divide dough into 4 equal pieces and shape into balls as best you can. It will be sticky so flour your hands a bit. Remember you don’t need to knead it. Cover with the same plastic wrap or kitchen towel and let it rest while oven preheats.
Remove hot pot from the oven. I like to sprinkle a little polenta or coarse corn meal on the bottom of the hot pot to create a little crumble bottom crust (optional step). CAREFULLY drop the dough balls into the hot pot. Do not worry if they are not round, they will bake beautifully regardless of the shape. Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
Then remove the lid and bake an extra 10 minutes (this creates a crust). Take hot pot out of the oven, carefully remove breads and cool on rack.
- 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 carrots, diced really tiny
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 1 head of broccoli florets
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 8 ounces freshly-grated cheddar or colby cheese, plus more for serving
Heat butter (or olive oil) in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until melted. Add onion and carrots and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring, until both veggies are cooked. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in flour and stir for another minute.
Whisk in the chicken stock until mix. Stir in the milk, broccoli, mustard, salt and black pepper until combined. Continue cooking and stirring until soup comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer the soup for about 10 or so minutes, until broccoli and tender. Turn off heat and stir in shredded cheese until evenly mixed
To serve: Cut a 1/2 inch thick slice from top of each little loaf; scoop out centers, leaving 3/4-inch-thick shells. Carefully fill bread bowls with a ladle of soup and serve with the bread tops and insides on the side with butter of course. Add more soup to bread bowl as desired.
Soup slightly adapted from Gimmesomeoven.