Say the words broccoli and soup in one sentence to any kid or an adult who is a picky eater, and they will probably look at you appalled and disgusted. However, when it is prepared skilfully, the famous cream of broccoli soup is something any person with functioning taste buds would enjoy. The soft, creamy texture and the delicate flavor of this underappreciated vegetable are bound to put a smile on one’s face.
Not only that, one serving of cream of broccoli soup packs about 150 calories and a lot of useful nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. So, it is tasty; it is healthy, what else do you need to know about it? Well, only how to choose the ingredients, prep them for cooking and combine them in perfect harmony. Don’t be intimidated; we’ll help you with that.
How To Choose The Best Broccoli For The Soup?
So, you’ve decided to prepare cream of broccoli soup, and you’re headed to the supermarket or your local farmer’s market to get some (we suggest the latter location)? Do you really know how to select the best broccoli out of the bunch? It’s easy. Search for uniformly green color, and avoid the veggies with yellowing or brown spots. The crown needs to be springy and tight, while the sprout should be firm. Limp florets and soft stem are the signs of old broccoli.
Cleaning And Preparing Broccoli
Unless you are buying frozen broccoli, you will need to clean and prep the head of broccoli for cooking. There are two steps in this process:
1. Trimming off the florets: To get easier access to florets, you will need to cut straight through the stem, as close to the crown as it is possible. This way, the crown will break into a couple of large florets. Your goal is to make bite-sized pieces, so you will need to cut the florets further. The best way to do that is to cut through the trunks of florets.
2. Trimming and slicing the stem: Many people think, wrongfully, that broccoli stem is not edible, and they usually throw it away. However, broccoli stem is just as delicious as the florets, and it can be especially useful when preparing broccoli soup. If you want it to be more comfortable to cook, you should remove the top layer of the stem’s skin, but this is not necessary.
You should slice off the bottom inch of every stem because it is too dry to cook well. The remaining stem needs to be cut into disks. Rinse the disks under water to remove any remaining dirt.
Just remember, stems take a longer time to cook than florets, so you if you are cooking a soup of these ingredients combined, you should put the stems first, and add florets about ten minutes after.
The Common Methods Of Cooking Broccoli
There are several methods used to cook broccoli, and while each of them can also be used to prepare the soup, but the most frequent one is sautéing. Just in case you choose to try another one, here’s what you need to know:
1. Blanching: To blanch the broccoli, you will need to prepare a bowl of ice water and keep it next to the stove. In another pot pour water and bring it to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Add the florets and cook until tender. Remove broccoli from the water with a slotted spoon and plunge it right away in the ice water. Let the water come to a boil, and cook for another two minutes.
2. Microwave steaming: Place the stems and the florets in a microwave-safe dish and pour two or three spoons of water on top. Cover with a dinner plate and microwave on high temperature for about four minutes. Remove the dish and the lid and check if the broccoli is tender. If not microwave for a minute more.
3. Stovetop steaming: Fill a pot with few inch of water. Put a steamer basket on top. Bring the water to a simmer. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam for about five minutes over medium-high heat.
4. Sautéing: The broccoli should be as dry as possible. Cover a skillet with oil and put on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add florets and pinch of salt. Toss around the skillet to cover with oil. Stir frequently, until the broccoli is tender.
Everything You Need For A Perfect Cream Of Broccoli Soup
Broccoli is just one piece of the puzzle that makes the perfect harmony we call cream of broccoli soup. The second on the list of the most important ingredients is a dairy product. Depending on the recipe, that can be either heavy cream or milk. Using heavy cream results in a denser more complex texture, while using milk makes the soup thinner.
Chicken broth is used most commonly for this type of soup, but if you are a vegetarian or simply don’t like chicken, you can use a vegetable broth. Butter is essential for the soft and gentle texture of the soup. The all-purpose flour is used to make the soup denser. Some chefs like to use yellow onion as an extra ingredient, while others prefer celery, but you can get by without either of these. Salt is used to taste, and pepper is optional.
Our Favorite Cream Of Broccoli Soup Recipe
There are plenty of different variations to the traditional cream of broccoli soup recipe, but this is by far our favorite. The creaminess is exquisite, the taste is absolutely delicious, and it takes little time and effort to prepare.
● 1 pound broccoli (cut into florets and stems chopped into disks)
● ¼ cup heavy cream
● ¼ cup all-purpose flour
● ¼ unsalted butter
● 1 yellow onion (diced)
● 4 cups chicken broth
● Salt and ground pepper (to taste)
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a pot. Add the yellow onion and cook. Stir frequently, until soft and yellowish. It will take about seven or eight minutes.
2. Pour flour, stir and cook until you get a homogenous mixture.
3. Add broth while whisking constantly. Bring to a boil over high temperature. Reduce heat and let simmer (about ten minutes), while whisking occasionally.
4. Add broccoli stems and florets. Bring to a simmer. Cook for about twenty minutes, until the broccoli is soft and tender.
5. Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Fill a blender with it (in batches if needed) and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot when it is pureed.
6. Put the pot on the stovetop, add heavy cream and simmer over medium heat until it’s warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. If it is too dense for you after heating, you can thin the mixture with more broth or warm water.
How To Serve Cream Of Broccoli Soup?
Now that you’ve got your beautiful creamy soup, you need to serve it to look just as delicious as it tastes. Broccoli soup looks the best when it is served in a deep ceramic bowl, but you can also make it interesting and serve it in a larger ceramic cup.
For decoration, you can add more heavy cream on top of the soup, sprinkle some herbs and/or add croutons. Also, you can add a cooked broccoli floret. Another alternative is to put the bowl/cup on a small plate and serve with a piece of toast
Now you know everything there is to know about the fantastic cream of broccoli soup. You can serve it at family lunches or show off when you have some guests. Everyone will love it.