Monday, January 13, 2014

Copycat cleaned up Panera Sonoma Chicken Stew recipe (with cheesebiscuit)

Two years ago Panera came out with the greatest soup they've ever had, in my humble opinion anyways.

Sonoma Chicken Stew may not be that great for some online reviews, but I think it is amazing. There is a cheesy biscuit in the middle of a creamy mixture of chicken and vegetables and it screams comfy sweaters, annoying but oh-so-warm furry boots, fireplaces, dreary days, and rain on the window. You know, Autumn at it's finest. Or winter, whatever season you want it to be, just gimme some o' that soup.

Panera, or the St. Louis Bread Co (re; "Bread Co") in the part of the world I'm from, is fast food, but tastier and less greasy than your typical joint. There's tons of calories, sodium, and carbs that leach onto your body just for walking in the place. Is it still one of my cravings? You bet your bippy. I ate it the day J was born because it's the only thing that sounded good, and my first full meal after I was on the road to recovery? Panera. When I was in high school I would get the chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl, with bread for a side. That's like 1300 calories......eeeeek. And I'm eternally grateful that my husband shared the greatest sandwich of all; the bacon turkey bravo. My.mouth.is.watering. I try to make better choices these days, and it's a rare occasion to eat there (twice a year maybe). I search them out if we are on the road and need to stop for fast food. I love you Panera, non-eat-clean meals and all.

But when I googled for a recipe like the sonoma chicken stew....no where to be found! If you too have googled this amazingly warm and satisfying comfort dish, look no more.

Although I must warn you, mine is cleaned up a bit and not as thick, though I have a solution for you on that front.

For me, the cheese biscuit makes the dish, and so that's included here.
Panera on top, this recipe on bottom

Copycat Sonoma Chicken Stew with Cheese Biscuit Recipe

1 quart chicken broth, homemade preferred
4-5 cups water depending on how far you want to stretch it
1 cup cream or half and half, grassfed preferred
as much celery, carrots, peas, green beans as you want
(I eyeballed it, you can say 3 stalks celery, chopped. 1 lb of carrots sliced, 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 cup of frozen, cut green beans)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp cold water and your thickening agent of choice (about 4 tbsp)
1-2 lbs chicken breasts, boiled or pan fried in grassfed butter, chopped up into bite size pieces after cooking
**To make it thicker and more of a copycat recipe, add 1.5 cups worth of chopped potatoes. This will add to the creamy texture and Panera's version has potatoes. I didn't have any on hand, so I left them out**
cheese biscuit recipe follows

Boil the broth in a large stock pot, add in water and bring to boil again. Add in celery and carrots (and potatoes if you have them), simmer until they are starting to soften then add in peas and green beans. Blend in cream and salt and pepper to taste, simmer. In a small bowl, combine flour or corn starch with cold water. In a steady stream, pour into soup and stir constantly while you do. If you'd still like yours to be thicker, repeat the process. I did so about 3 times. Simmer.
While the soup had been simmering, I pan fried some chicken breasts in grassfed butter, which is like my favorite thing to do because it tastes so dang good. A little fat doesn't make you fat, sugar does. Don't worry if it gets a little crispy on the outside, the soup will soften it up some too. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add it into the soup. Let the soup stew while you make the biscuits. Once the biscuits are done, place one in a large soup bowl and ladle stew over it. Salt and pepper may be added for taste once again, but remember to watch your sodium intake if trying to eat clean.

'eat clean' Cheese Biscuits

2 cups white whole wheat flour
4 tsp (aluminum free baking) powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (grassfed) butter
1 (cage free) egg
2/3 (unsweetened original almond) milk
1 tbsp honey
4-6 oz freshly grated Colby Jack or cheddar cheese

Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives or a food processor. Make a well in the center of the mixture and put in the egg, honey, and milk. Whisk the wet ingredients within the well and then start to incorporate the dry ingredients. Once combined, toss in the cheese and gentle blend. Knead the dough briefly to make sure cheese is well distributed avoid over-handling though. Pat out to 3/4 inch thick rectangle on a well floured surface or silicone pastry mat. You want these to look artisan, so I used a knife to create chunky triangles or square shapes. Bake at 435 degrees on silpat lined sheet (or grease your sheets if no silpat) for about 9 minutes or until golden.


  1. OH My GOSH!! FINALLY!! I have been looking for a copycat version of Sonoma Chicken Stew forever! I absolutely LOVE this soup, and for the exact same reasons you listed! it SCREAMS rainy weather, in fact while living in southern california, any day that was dreary/rainy i insisted on lunch at Panera, unfortunately we have moved and the closest Panera is now several hours away, it's fall and I WANT my soup!! I'm making it TODAY and I hope it's even remotely as flavorful as the original! THANK YOU!!

  2. Thanks so much for this recipe. I love Panera Bread and this is by far my favorite thing from there. I totally agree that the cheese biscuit makes this. So glad I found this. Thanks again!

  3. Omg!!! This is why I love the Internet:) my husband and I ask EVERY time we go to Panera when they're bringing this soup back. Made it just now and holy smokes. I could care less when they bring it back cause I can just make my own! So stinkin good:) My husband is going to love this! Thank you!


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