Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Surely there are people in the world who don't like broccoli.  But I'm not one of them!  And this is definitely one of my favorite ways to eat it. 

What makes broccoli so healthy?  Like all the other cruciferous vegetables -- brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and so on -- there's a secret ingredient that packs a wallop when it comes to your body detoxing.  It's a sulphur-based amino acid (the building blocks of protein) called cysteine that's needed to help the body in the detox process.      

One of the best parts of this soup is any kind of vegetable can be used instead of broccoli -- asparagus, squash, mushroom, you name it.  So it's kind of a formula soup.  The secret is the cream sauce (Bechamel sauce).  If you've never made it from scratch, try it.  It only takes a few minutes and is the basis for many classic dishes.

Like anything, the end result is only as good as the ingredients put into it.  For this one, I feel it's important to use (at least) organic milk and organic butter.  It's too easy to buy these two things organic nowadays and there's no reason not to.  It just tastes a lot better.   


2 stalks broccoli (with their stems) -- about medium size 5-6 " in diameter roughly; if larger then you may need to increase other ingredients
1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion
butter to saute onion
4 T. butter for cream sauce
3 T. flour or arrowroot (may need to use more arrowroot)
1 cup of milk (warmed)
15 oz chicken broth
Salt, fresh pepper, a sprinkle of nutmeg

Broccoli and Onions

Chop and steam 2 medium stalks of broccoli, just until bright green and slightly tender.  Don't overcook, err on the side of al dente. 

Heat a large heavy saute pan (the one you'll make the cream sauce in), add a couple T. butter until slightly bubbly, then saute half a large or one medium onion, chopped, with a sprinkle of salt (I like to season in layers).  Carmelize the onion slightly but not too brown. 

After the onion is tender and broccoli is ready, add both to your food processor and pulse about 20 times until it's all in very small pieces (it won't be pureed). 

Cream (Bechamel) Sauce 

Here's a rough description of how I make Bechamel sauce.  You can probably find better descriptions online.  But this will get you started. 

To the same pan that the onion was in, low to medium heat, add about 4 T. butter until slightly bubbly, then gradually stir in with a whisk about 2-3 T. flour.  Keep whisking until the flour or arrowroot is well blended. Have your milk and broth ready to go before this point.  The butter will soak up the flour; can always add more butter, but don't worry, the fluids will take care of that. 

Slowly whisk in the warmed milk, and then the chicken broth.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  And a sprinkle of nutmeg (just a small sprinkle). 

Let the mixture bubble for a minute or so, and add more fluid if you'd like.  Keep in mind that when you add the broccoli to it, it will thicken a bit more. 

Add the processed broccoli and onion to the white sauce.  Adjust the thickness by adding more fluid if you'd like.  At this point, it's ready to go.

Eat it just as it is, or add toppings like parmesan cheese, shredded cheese, or chunks of chicken breast for a complete meal.  Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment