Happy New Year!!
I’m so happy to be back in the kitchen! … and honestly just thrilled to be out ‘n about in general. I love visiting my guy in Canada, but (as these things always happen) I caught the flu this trip and rotated between a bed, a couch, and a steamy hot shower for much of my visit. I still have a bit of a cough, but overall feeling much better.
One of the first things I did once I had unpacked, caught up on my email, and caught about twelve hours of sleep was to stock the cupboards and fridge. Now that it’s time to work solely on grad school applications I need to ditch the fast-track eating habits that came with taking classes. I adore my binto box, but by the end of the semester it was cold Poptarts and a half-filled water bottle more often than I want to admit. So, I armed myself with three main recipes that will make plenty of leftovers and went to town.
This soup recipe caught my eye because of its simplicity. I’m not a big broccoli fan (asparagus lover here!), but try to make an effort to find ways of enjoying foods that are healthy for me. Usually, when I want to reap some broccoli benefits, I just munch on raw florets with a dill or ranch dip. Cream of broccoli soup seemed like a great way to get some more of this power veggie into my diet and it’s perfect for the season as well.
Quick & Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup (from Eating Well‘s February ’11 issue)
1 T butter (unsalted)
1 T EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 t fresh thyme, chopped
8 C broccoli, chopped*
4 C reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (I used veggie)
2 C water
½ C Half & Half (optional)**
½ t salt
pepper to taste (I omitted this as I don’t normally like pepper in my soup)
*Note: Because I’m a lazy bum, I didn’t bother to chop the broccoli florets. I made sure to cut smallish pieces from the main crown, but that was it. My immersion blender took care of the pieces, but if you want to ensure you have a very smooth texture or if you aren’t sure your blender is up to the challenge, take the time to chop the broccoli as well.
**Note: Not only am I lazy, but I love cream (it’s amazing I’m not 100 lbs heavier, haha). I taste-tested the soup after adding the recommended ½ Cup of Half and Half and ended up pouring in a dollop more, for a total of about 2/3 Cup of cream. If you’re more health-conscious or allergic to dairy the soup actually tastes quite good without any cream at all! Give it a taste before adding the cream and then add as desired.
- Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over Medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies soften – about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about 10 seconds before adding the broccoli. Add broth and water as well and bring to a “lively simmer” (I found this description funny) over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook until broccoli is very tender or for about 8 minutes.
- Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in an upright blender. Stir in the Half and Half (if using), salt, and pepper to taste. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Hurray for freezable home-cooked meals! 🙂
This soup surprised me, for all its simplicity it has some great flavor. I should have “lively simmered” my broccoli a bit longer as the soup texture was just a tad grainy, but it didn’t stop me from having two servings. The rest of the pot was divided into two storage containers: one for the fridge and another for the freezer. It’s great to have an easy, 30-minute recipe provide meals for the rest of the week! I also really like how it’s so adaptable to lactose-free or even vegan (just use 2 T EVOO and omit butter). If you’re like me and aren’t the biggest broccoli fan, I highly recommend trying this dish – you could even add a handful of grated cheddar on top for that classic twist that even broccoli-haters will eat, haha.
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥