Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spicy Broccoli Soup

Got Broccoli? I haven't...not in my South Florida garden anyway, it's way too hot. We are reduced to buying our vegetables from the local grocery store, and as fresh and nutritious as store bought broccoli is just not the same as broccoli grown in your own garden.

Anyway I digress. Today I was supposed to cut-the-lawn, but the lawn mower wouldn't start, so while I hooked it up to the little charger gizmo I flounced around looking for something to do. An examination of the refrigerator revealed 2 full stalks of broccoli and 1 full broccoli complete with florets. 

Don't throw those stalks out, I am going to show you how to make a really smooth and spicy broccoli soup.

You will need 
a 10" skillet, I prefer stainless steel
3 broccoli (2 just using the stalks, but not last two inches, and 1 head of chopped florets, which you hold back)
5 tablespoons butter (hold 2 tablespoons back)
1 onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoons each of, powdered ginger and cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons each of, cumin, coriander and turmeric
4 cups chicken stock or vegetarian stock
2 potatoes and 4 carrots, peeled and diced (hold 2 carrots worth back)
2 or 3 cloves garlic, just peeled
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 cup of reduced fat milk
12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Just sizzling
Heat the butter in the skillet on a low setting. Now chop up the 2 broccoli stalks, and discard any dried up bits and the last two inches of the stalk, which are very tough and fibrous. When butter is melted, add the broccoli stalk/stems, the onion, 2 diced carrots and garlic cloves, give it a good stir to coat and let it cook about 7 minutes, then add all spices and the potato. Give another couple stirs not letting anything stick to bottom of pan

Liquid has been added
Your combination should look something like this and will begin to be very aromatic.

Now add the 4 cups of chicken stock, put the lid on, and
set at a low setting, and allow to simmer.

Okay, lawnmower should be charged, I'll be back in half-an-hour......

30 mins later
After 30 mins the veg has softened, and my kitchen smells amazing, so I just turned the heat off and allowed it to cool down in the pan for another 30 mins, so I can puree it.

I'll just run out and do a little weed-whacking in the yard while I'm waiting for the contents to cool down.....

When the liquid is cool enough not to melt your blender, give it a good mix on the puree cycle, and at this point you want to add the 1 cup of milk and the 2 oz cream cheese.

In another pan, heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and add the chopped up broccoli florets and the 2 remaining diced carrots, let the veg soften to 'al dente' and then remove and add to the large pan with the pureed contents. Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer everything for about 10 mins.

The finished soup
The combination of the smooth, creamy and just spicy-enough puree, with the crunch of the barely sauteed veg is amazing. Yield is about 6-8 bowls of soup.

You could make it heartier with diced sausage, black beans or even some cooked rice for a late night supper. Or drizzle it over cooked pasta.

Serve with crusty loaf. It's delicious, bon appetit! where did those gardening gloves get to...

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