Sunday, November 27, 2011

"More-Than-Broccoli Soup"

I love broccoli.  Yes, I do.  And as luck would have it, it is quite good for you! 

[Kate here, several hours later.  Why oh why did I channel my inner Doctor Seuss just there?  I should have written this whole thing in rhyme. "Would you like to chop onions up?   Chop enough for half a cup.  How to make it like a dream? Add a blop of heavy cream!"  Ok, maybe not.]

Oh, dear darling broccoli, how I love thee.

This morning, I was thinking over what yummies I could make for myself to eat at lunchtime this coming week.  You see, we just had Thanksgiving and I'm feeling a bit sluggish.  Also? I had bought a bunch of broccoli to go with our Thanksgiving dinner and I forgot about it, so it's starting to wilt.

1/4 or so of a white onion, pretty well chopped.  (I could have used more, but I was saving some for potato soup later this afternoon).  I'd vote for 1/2 of a big onion.
2-3 ribs of celery, well-chopped
1 TB of butter
2 big bunches of broccoli (with stems)
6 or so cups of chicken broth
a few TB of heavy cream (or milk)
Some Wondra flour if needed

Chop up your onion and celery.  Plop into a pot with the butter and saute.

NOw, listen to me here for a second.
KEEP THE HEAT NO HIGHER than medium.  Really.  Trust the Kate.  You want it to "sweat," not to sizzle and burn and get all brown and stuff.  Your soup will look weird if you brown the veggies.  Like you pureed a brown paper bag into the soup.  Yick. You do NOT want this.

While this is cooking CAREFULLY, cut the florets off of the stalks of the broccoli. (Stalks? Stems? Whatever. The big branchy-things.)
Now, cut off about and keep the top half of the stems.  Toss the bottom parts.
Get a big sharp knife and SHOMPSHOMPSHOMP cut off the outer peel of the stems, revealing most of the white part inside.  This is good stuff, here.  Discard the outer tough stuff.
Cut the white part into long slices, then turn it and cut again into long matchsticks.  THEN? Dice up the sticks into little teeny pieces.
Add your stem pieces in with the onion/celery, and cook a bit until softened.

Then, add your chicken broth (reserve maybe a cup just in case) and cook on medium-ish until all the veggies are pretty soft.
Puree it all with an immersible blender.

Cook again, and add the florets this time.
Cook until they're not quite cooked soft. Puree a bit with your immersible blender (all the way if you like it smooth, less if you like it chunky).

Taste.  Season if necessary.
If your soup is thin, sprinkle with some Wondra flour and cook on high for a few minutes. If it's too thick, add more broth.
Add a dollop of cream, then remove from the heat.  Stir and taste.  Season if necessary.

Muy, muy awesome.  The celery adds a lovely, light, fresh taste.  The onion provides a bit of sweetness, and the stems ... who knows?  I just like not wasting them.

I suspect the cream can be left out, but it adds a nice mouth-feel, and really, it's only a little bit of fat for a big pot of vitamin- and fiber-rich soup.

This soup gets a solid A in my book.
Oh, and it freezes awesomely.

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