Sauté a half small onion and a generous whole garlic clove, and add a coarsely chopped head of well-washed broccoli. I say well-washed for a reason: One day many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson with a nice fresh store-bought head of broccoli. I cut off the bottom ends of each segment and washed it carefully in an oversize colander, only to discover when I pulled the head apart that there was the most beautiful colour-matched caterpillar hiding deep inside. I never would have seen it, but it moved. I thought I was seeing things. I let the caterpillar finish its lunch by gently tossing the piece out in the garden, with the caterpillar intact.
In the large pot, cover the broccoli with well-seasoned homemade chicken stock, and add two medium-size peeled potatoes, quartered. Add two small whole peeled carrots and one small stick of celery. Salt as you would for boiled potatoes.
Adjust the chicken stock to cover completely. Generously salt and pepper. Add a most tiny sprinkle of poultry seasoning or a quarter teaspoon of fresh chopped sage, (easy on the sage, either way; it’s in the poultry seasoning and it can be overpowering); a sprinkle of chopped rosemary and crushed thyme. Add a pinch of fresh, freeze-dried parsley (LiteHouse brand is terrific) and just a tiny bit of basil. Finally, add a tablespoon of granulated sugar and a few pieces of your favourite sweet apple.
When the potatoes and other vegetables are fork tender, remove the pot from the fire. When cooled slightly, purée in a blender or kitchen machine. You can package and freeze this base until ready to use.
Note: If I happen to have frozen mirepoix, leftover from some other cooking, I toss it into this soup and continue to simmer briefly, before I purée.
On a day you will use it, thaw the base in the refrigerator and when ready to prepare, scald half and half cream on high heat, 1:3 letting it rise and fall three times to reduce. Add small chunks of cheddar cheese and stir constantly until the cheese melts into the cream. (You don’t have to add the cheese; the plain soup is still very good.)
Remove the scalded, reduced cream from the burner. Stir in the broccoli base.
Now for the gourmet touch, just when ready to serve: add a little congealed figgy jus from your Asbach Uralt cognac marinating jar and drop in a small, finely chopped marinated black mission fig, on top of a dollop of very cold full-fat sour cream.
Another way to serve: Into a hot bowl of soup, top with a dollop of tight full-fat sour cream. Do not stir. Carefully mound on top of the sour cream dollop, a teaspoon of Beet and Red Onion marmalade by WildlyDelicious. The gentle “kick” of the marmalade makes a wonderful mix of flavours, as you enjoy your first spoonful.
A different serving option:
You could toast diagonally cut slices of black-olive bread or baguette, butter the toasts generously and use as soup dippers. Or you could cut the toasts into crispy croutons and float the crunchy croutons on the soup plates, as you serve.
Or, when ready to serve and the steaming hot creamy soup is being plated, add a puck of your marinated Celebrity label creamy Canadian goat cheese. Do not stir. Drizzle with maple syrup. This delightful mixture of flavours will have you wanting seconds.
In the holiday season, you might like to top the dollop of very cold sour cream with some sweet gooey sautéed cranberries. I make a wonderful, very sweet, rhubarb confit and it can be used as a topper, too.
Note: Don’t eat the base before adding it to the scalded reduced cream. You might find it tastes awful; on the odd occasion broccoli can be bitter, although served as a vegetable I have never found it to be. However, once added to the hot reduced cream, it is truly terrific! And any bitterness disappears. Adjust seasoning just before serving. You might want to add a little salt and pepper.
If you love broccoli, you might want to try this very different broccoli soup. With the winter weather upon us, you might want to stock up your freezer with lots of containers of homemade chicken broth, and the base for several easy-to-make and easier-to-enjoy soups that I have posted on REM. Send me an email if you want additional winter weather soup recipes.
- Use cream to thicken soup
- Rustic mushroom soup
- Canada’s fiddlehead, a sure sign of spring
- Scroll down to the comments of this recipe for my very special French Onion Soup – English Style.
- Green split pea soup
© From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks – Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience