Erbert & Gerbert go gluten-free

Never heard of the sandwich chain Erbert & Gerbert? Me neither, until this morning. Sitting in traffic, on my way to the airport this morning, I relaxed in the back seat and read USA Today. I’m not really a newspaper reader, but traffic was bad and the driver was silent so I gave it a shot.

Much to my delight, I found a small article on page 5B of the Money section that states this awesomely named sandwich chain is now offering 3 GF soups and Udi’s GF bread to prepare their sandwiches with. They also have dedicated GF equipment to help avoid cross contamination. Although if Erbert & Gerbert is anything like Panera, I might be reluctant to eat there with all the other gluten flying around. Regardless, its great to see another restaurant chain catering to the GF market in their offerings.

Do you have an Erbert & Gerbert near by? Will you try their new GF foods? Let us know how they are!

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Better than Panera broccoli cheese soup

GF broccoli cheese soup

Eat by the fireplace for the full Panera effect.

Although we are almost a year into the gluten-free diet for Nora, every restaurant we go to, every food we eat goes through a pre-diagnosis comparison. All gluten-free foods are in constant competition against what we once knew as the “norm.”

Well, the “norm” has changed drastically over the past year. And there are certain restaurants that we just can’t go to anymore, like Panera, which we miss greatly. On occasion, Sophia and I have a girl’s day out with just the two of us, and the first place we head to is Panera for a full-fledged glutinous day spa experience. And I always feel guilty about it afterward, because one of Nora’s all-time favorite foods was Panera’s broccoli cheese soup.

So I set out on a mission to make a gluten-free version that tasted just as good as the real deal. None have come as close as this one, that I based off of Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese soup recipe posted on cdkitchen.com. Let me warn you, the original recipe is NOT a healthy soup. Any nutritional benefit you get from the broccoli and carrots are countered by the 2 cups of half-n-half and 8 oz. of cheese that the recipe calls for. Mine still isn’t what I’d call healthy, but with less fat, it’s a step in the right direction.

The original recipe calls for regular all-purpose flour of course, and only makes 4 servings. We usually want leftovers, so I made a larger batch, substituted gluten-free flour, and brought the fat content down a notch, while still keeping it rich and creamy.

The results were amazing and put a huge smile on Nora’s face!

Better than Panera gluten-free broccoli cheese soup
Serves 10
Adapted from Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese soup recipe posted on cdkitchen.com

Ingredients:Nora enjoying broccoli cheese soup

1 tsp butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2.5 TBSP melted butter
3 TBSP gluten-free flour mix
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup skim milk
1 32 oz. box of gluten-free chicken stock
2 large heads of broccoli, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  • Melt 1 tsp of butter in large dutch oven or stock pot. Add chopped onion and sauté over medium heat. Remove onions and set aside.
  • Melt 2.5 TBSP of butter. Whisk in GF flour, one tablespoon at a time. Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Slowly add the half-and-half and milk.
  • Slowly whisk in gluten-free chicken stock, and stir until well incorporated. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, dry mustard, and nutmeg. The soup should be thickened by now.
  • This part depends on how chunky you like your soup. Pour 3/4 of the soup into blender and puree until smooth.
  • Return to pot and stir. Over low heat, add the grated cheese; stir until well blended.

Serve with gluten-free biscuits (stay tuned for the recipe in the next couple of days) and enjoy!

Share the love: Do you have a soup that you can’t live without? Send it to growingupgf@gmail.com and if it gets a thumbs up from our family,  I’ll post it on the blog!