Soup is one of those essential foods – it’s easy to make, it’s comforting and if it’s made well, very satisfying. Vegetable soups are probably the easiest to make. When you think about what soup is it’s hard to imagine a simpler cooking method. Vegetables are chopped and cooked ‘till just right in some sort of liquid – water or broth – and maybe finished with some milk or butter or cream to add richness.
For the last couple of weeks, the CSA box we receive from Farm Fresh to You has arrived with some very large broccoli stems with very small florets. We could have simply chopped up the stems and sautéed them with a bit of garlic but these stems were big, really big, and so I thought instead of letting them rot in the fridge I would create another soup to freeze and eat at a later date. I can’t really say the recipe is another Bittman-inspired treat (I looked up his recipe when I was just about done) but his cream of broccoli soup recipe contains most of what I’ve included here. I keep his cookbook on our shelf for that “just in case” moment when I think I might need a recipe reminder.
The vegetable broth I made starts with the vegetable “scraps” I keep in the fridge. I’ve learned to save the odds and ends leftover from other recipes just for this purpose. “Waste not, want not” has been my motto for a while and in this economy it’s the perfect practice. Since I’m also working tonight it will be a great quick meal for S., along with a sandwich.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 medium onion chopped
1 pound of broccoli
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon flour
4-6 cups vegetable broth
1-2 cups whole milk or cream
Salt & pepper
Sauté the onion in olive oil in a heavy bottom stockpot until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Peel the broccoli stems and cut into small pieces, keep the florets separate. Add the chopped stems and cook another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook again for about 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth and stir. Bring to simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat and puree the soup in a blender in batches. Add the soup back to the stockpot, add florets and allow the soup to cook a couple of minutes. Finally, add the milk or cream and finish with a little salt and pepper to taste.