Surprisingly creamy, no-cream Broccoli Soup

My family is not what I’d call a broccoli family. When I think of family gatherings, I think of salsa, bacon, Chex Mix, fried turkey.  We do little cheese squares with toothpicks.  We do one giant course where the second course is second helpings. I love this about my family.  Nevertheless, when my husband and I volunteered to make Christmas dinner a couple years ago, we 1) planned a four-course meal, and 2) kicked it off with broccoli soup.  We make this broccoli soup that tastes like has cream in it, but it doesn’t!  In fact, it has five healthy ingredients: broccoli, veggie stock, onions, and roux made of flour and olive oil.  I felt confident about the rest of the meal we planned on serving, but I was certain the soup would flop (given that this is true, I have no idea why I wanted to serve it in the first place).

Surprise!  They loved it.  Loved, loved, loved it.  They went back for seconds.  Of broccoli soup.

Yesterday Gilles & I went for a hike in the rain.  This soup was the perfect dinner to warm us back up.

This soup is stunning when it comes together the way you want.  It is underwhelming (but still quite edible) when it doesn’t.  The trick is balancing the broccoli and the stock, and blending the ish out of it.  If you try it and don’t love it, please make it just once more in case it comes together better!

Broccoli Soup

1 head broccoli

1 medium to large onion

veggie stock,* about 2 cups

2-3 tbs flour

2 tbs oil

*I always prefer low-sodium or home-made versions of stocks.  You can always add salt later to taste, but so often salted stocks are overpowering as-is, and we all know how impossible it is to get salt back OUT of a dish.

Prepare the broccoli by removing the stem, coarsely chopping, and rinsing with cool water.  Add chopped broccoli to a food processor and process until quite fine.  You will want to skip this step.  I often have skipped this step.  Here’s what I’ve learned:  Don’t skip this step.  It helps this soup come out magically creamy without the cream.

Chop the onion and saute with a little oil in a large sauce or soup pan (4+ quarts), 5 mins on medium heat.  Using a wooden spoon, clear a little space in the bottom of the pan.  Pour in the olive oil, and then shake in the flour while stirring the flour and oil together with the spoon.  You are making a roux!  Aren’t you fancy!  If the mixture looks dry, drizzle in a little more oil.   Now stir that all around with the onions until they’re coated.  Great.

Turn down the heat, and add the finely chopped broccoli to the pan.  Now, another important step.  Add veggie stock until the liquid just covers the solid broccoli, then add a splash more.  The stuff in the pot should look rather dense, but like you could still blend it.  If you add too much liquid, the soup will come out too runny.  If you suspect you’ve over-done the liquid, you could always boil it down or siphon it off the top.  Cook at a simmer over low to medium heat for 20 mins. (Sometimes, I use equal parts stock and water so as to not over-power the flavor of the broc. Up to you.)

Working in batches, blend the soup in a blender.  Blend the stuff out of it.  It should look thick and creamy.

Put the soup back on the stove, rewarm it, and add salt to taste.  It’s great served with croutons or a slice of bread.



Filed under Food

3 responses to “Surprisingly creamy, no-cream Broccoli Soup

  1. This looks so good! Love making my own stock too… here’s my chicken recipe httpI:// I always seem to have surplus broccoli from my CSA – I’m going to give this recipe a shot next time I do!

  2. Pingback: Unsupervised « nerds in the kitchen

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