“Creme” of Broccoli soup
A year ago I wrote up a recipe for a vegan Creme of Squash soup, using silk tofu. This broccoli soup is a variation of that theme.
I like to make the soup with broccoli stems. We get big bunches of fresh broccoli, which we love, but the stems don’t always work in recipes. They’re fine if I peel the ends and cut it in spears to steam and serve on the side, but less so if I toss them into a pan for one of my all in one dishes. If I’m going to use the stems in a soup, though, I can just cut the florets, use them, and feel luxurious and thrifty at the same time! You don’t have to make it with just the stems, of course…
Again, this kind of soup doesn’t really make a meal on its own, as some of my soups do. It’s a great first course, though – we’re eating soup and salad together for lunch a lot now, since, as it gets cooler, salad alone feels as if it is missing something. I like a light soup to start a dinner, too – a serving of this feels festive, but gives us a serving of vegetables and a little protein to round out a meal. It’s very easy, too, to make (or at least start) ahead, and then just heat when you want it.
We had a bunch of broccoli in our CSA last week, and I saved the stems. Then we got a new bunch this week – so I just cut the florets off, and reserved them for later. All together, I had about a pound of stems! (I more often have half that amount, and just make a half batch – just one bowl each for the two of us.) I trimmed off the cut ends, which dry out, and any woody bits. If it resists my knife, it goes… I don’t want hard fibrous pieces in my soup. This usually means peeling just a little close to the ends, and cutting the bottom end. (The older your broccoli is, the more will have dried… this is, unfortunately, one way to see how long it takes to get vegetables to your store.) I also trimmed the leaves, chopped them coarsely, and reserved them.
I cut the broccoli in fairly small pieces so they will cook quickly. While cutting them, I sauteed a chopped small onion and a minced clove of garlic in my soup pot – you can also, of course, use precooked onion from your freezer. I added the pieces, and a quart of water, with a pinch of salt. (You could use stock if you wanted – a meat stock, obviously, would make it no longer vegan.) I brought it all to a boil, and simmered for five minutes. (Well – that was the goal – I was interrupted, and it cooked a little longer than I wanted. You may want more or less time, depending on how you like your broccoli – we like it barely tender, and would have preferred this a minute or two sooner.) I then added the chopped broccoli leaves, so they would just barely cook in the residual heat.
At this point, I let it cool for a while. Even the immersion blender can spatter a little, and I’d rather not be splashed by boiling soup… It is still safer than putting hot soup in a regular blender. If you want to do some make ahead, this is a good point to stop, and resume right before dinner. (You can also just use thawed frozen broccoli, frozen precooked onion, and water or stock, and throw the whole thing together at the last minute.)
I added the package of silk tofu, and blended it. An immersion blender leaves the soup with a little more texture than blending in a carafe, which I like for this soup. I gently heated it back up to serving temperature, and served it, passing the peppermill, as freshly ground black pepper completed the flavor.
This is the very simplest form of the soup. Some hot pepper sauteed with the onion and garlic, or stock instead of water, or an herb cube thrown in are all possible variations. I really like having the shelf stable silk tofu, because it makes it so easy to decide to make one of these soups with whatever I have on hand. (The tofu is best used within a few months, though, so don’t forget you have it.)
“Creme” of Broccoli soup
- 1 pound broccoli stems
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- oil for pan
- pinch salt
- 12 oz package silk tofu
- freshly ground pepper
- Trim and chop broccoli.
- Saute onion and garlic in soup pot until soft.
- Add broccoli, a pinch of salt, and a quart of water, Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 5 minutes (or to your preference.) Let cool slightly, if desired.
- Add silk tofu to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree soup until mostly smooth.
- Reheat to serving temperature.
- Serve with freshly ground pepper.