It’s so nice when you find out that things you love to eat are also good for you. I love broccoli and eat it a lot. So full of excellent nourishing things is it that Ian Marber describes it in his book, The Food Doctor: Healing Foods for Mind and Body, as a ‘perfect food’. I’d been eating broccoli for a long time before I discovered it made a great soup but now it’s pretty much a regular in my winter soup repertoire. With a nice plump couple of heads of calabrese broccoli in my shopping basket today, and the snow falling steadily outside, it seemed the best thing for lunch would be broccoli soup.
I decided to spice it up a little with the addition of some red chilli and garlic. The once fresh red chilli lurking in my fridge was too sad to use so I opted for dried red chilli flakes instead.
I roughly chopped 2 small onions (all my onions were small; but just use 1 medium/large one) and put them in a large saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I let them slowly start to cook for a couple of minutes then added a crushed garlic clove, a good sprinkling (1 teaspoon, maybe) of dried chilli flakes and a peeled and diced large potato.
Let this gently cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile roughly chop the broccoli (about 500g).
Add the broccoli to the pan, sprinkle over a teaspoon of salt and some pepper and give it all a good stir. Put the lid on and leave to gently cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is a kind of pan roasting that brings out a rich, sweeter flavour in the broccoli before you add liquid.
Then add either stock or water to cover the vegetables, put the lid back on and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
When the vegetables are done, blitz it all with a hand blender till nice and smooth. Check seasoning.
I like to serve the soup with my cheat’s croutons and Parmesan.
I toasted a nice thick slice of Ruben’s wonderful sourdough bread that I bought a couple of days ago, drizzled lots of olive oil over it then cut into cubes. I ladled a serving of the broccoli soup into a bowl, put the toast cubes in the middle, then grated some Parmesan over the top. I finished it off with a drizzle more of olive oil.
Mmm. It did taste good. And what a perfect bowl of nutritious goodness in the cold weather!