Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I have committed to consuming a big box of fresh and local vegetables every two weeks. Sometimes, that's the easiest way to think about my CSA deal. It being August, there's an awful lot of broccoli showing up at my door, and since the temperatures have been hovering somewhere nearer to 70 than 100 lately, the idea of soup didn't seem so bad, all of a sudden. It being summer, and as you can see in this picture, I also chopped up some small tomatoes with basil and drizzled oil and vinegar over the top.

Mark Bittman, and his How to Cook Everything cookbook, suggested a Cream of Broccoli Soup that sounded just fine to me - and it was both simple and delicious. He notes that it works with lots of vegetables - carrots, cauliflower, celery... you know, the standard "Cream of ___ Soup" options.

If you do include rice, as I did, be sure to puree it pretty thoroughly - otherwise you get sort of distracting rice bits in each spoonful. This is an excellent candidate for the immersion blender - it removes the entire "transfer to a blender without burning yourself, blend the hot soup, wash the pan, put the puree back in the pan and heat without boiling" portion of the event.

I made half a recipe, but I'm including the full recipe here.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
adapted from How to Cook Everything
Serves 4

1 lb broccoli, trimmed and cut up (I peeled and sliced the stalks to include, too). 1 pound of broccoli is about 4 loosely packed cups.
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup rice or 1 medium baking potato, peeled and cut into quarters
4 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 to 1 cup heavy or light cream or half-and-half
minced fresh parsley leaves or chives for garnish

Chop up the broccoli and set aside. Chop up the onion and cook it at a low temperature in the butter for a few minutes, or until softened. Add the broccoli and cook for a few minutes. Add the rice and stock and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.

Cool slightly, then puree in a food mill or a blender. Return to the pot and reheat over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper, add the cream. Heat through again, garnish and serve.

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