Make Cream of Broccoli Soup

The art to making a tasty soup is to have a good home-made stock as a base. Chicken stock is easy to make and you can freeze it for future use. You need a chicken carcass, a large onion left whole and stuck with cloves, a large carrot halved or quartered, 10 or 12 black peppercorns and a spoonful of dried mixed herbs. You can also add a celery stalk whole if you like, and a bay leaf or two. You need enough water to cover these ingredients, and bring this to the boil. Remove any scum that rises to the top and then partially cover the pan and simmer for one and a half hours for a really good stock.

Broccoli is one of the super vegetables and is full of vitamins and minerals as well as essential amino acids, so this soup is good for you, although the addition of cream does pile on the calories. It is a good starter for a dinner party though, and served with lots of fresh, crusty bread, makes for a good lunch. You can add a splash of brandy or Madeira to this to liven it up a little, when you add the stock. I use cumin seeds but you don’t have to do this, and a 2 inch stick of cinnamon adds interest too, but again this is optional as is the grated Parmesan. You can make the more elaborate soup for guests and leave the optional ingredients out if you are making this for your children. Here you have two recipes in one.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 2 large heads of broccoli, about 1 lb cut into small florets
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 200 ml double (thick or whipping) cream
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds (optional)
  • a little Madeira or brandy (optional)
  • 2 inch stick of cinnamon or cassia bark (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Method

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic, stirring, for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
  • Chop the broccoli stalks roughly and add these with the florets to the pan and fry for a further 6 minutes.
  • Add the stock, cumin and cinnamon and Madeira or brandy if using.
  • Bring to the boil; turn the heat down to low and season.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and allow the soup mixture to cool a little.
  • Blend and return to the pan adding the double cream. Bring the liquid to simmering point, turn off the heat and serve with the grated Parmesan cheese (optional).

(Serves 4)

Bon appetit!