Hubby and I love broccoli. We always have some crowns in the fridge. This week we had excess, though, because I had bought some and housed it toward the back of the fridge. Hubby didn’t see it, so then he bought some, too. Hence, excess broccoli.
So what to do with all that? Broccoli soup!
Until the night I made this, I had never eaten broccoli soup before. I remembered seeing a recipe for a lightened version in Cooks Illustrated, though. Sure enough, great recipe as per usual from the cooks at America’s Test Kitchen. This soup is not laden with cream, hence its lightness. Instead, it’s flavored with a few other goodies. And of course, it has cheese, both parmesan and cheddar. Since hubs loves to slather melted cheddar on his steamed broccoli, I knew he would love this soup. And indeed he did.
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 pounds broccoli, florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces; stems trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-in thick slices
- 1 medium onion, rough chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp.)
- 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. table salt
- 3-4 cups water
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 ounces baby spinach (2 loosely packed cups)
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
- ground black pepper
- Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water and baking soda (baking soda speeds up the release of the broccoli’s sulfurous compounds). Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.
- Add broth and 2 cups water; increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute (the spinach will give the soup a bright green color).
- Add cheese a handful at a time, allowing each handful to melt before adding more.
- Transfer soup to blender (in batches, if needed) and process until smooth. Alternatively, you can process in a food processor or you can use an immersion blender (which I preferred because I could control the chunkiness of the soup).
- Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
SOURCE: adapted from Cooks Illustrated, March/April 2011