Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cream of Broccoli Soup (Without Cream)

With the onset of Fall, I gravitate to the hearty and comforting soup-bread routine. That pretty much sums up the dinner at times. I searched for various cream of vegetable soup recipes online and most of them used roux - the classic base for any white sauce and cream which I prefer to skip. I replaced the roux with potatoes (you will still get close-to-creamy texture) and added milk instead of cream. This may not be a classic cream of broccoli recipe but serves the needs (calories) and nutritional requirements of my family. 

The body of the soup is more often than not, very thin and finely blended. To build it up, I created a good base with Celery and Onions. For a touch of green, I added few sprigs of Arugula popularly known as Rocket. All this brought together with a pat of butter (its about 25 calories) and milk. We enjoyed the soup with Garlic Crostini made out of soft Baguette.

In Summer this year, I watched a documentary narrated by Anthony Bourdain, incidentally one of my favorite food writer and travel narrator, suggesting the method followed by Chefs in French cuisine  for Cream of Veg. soups of any kind. The restaurant style pureed soups are apparently strained through a sieve multiple times for a silky, smooth texture. I didn't bother to do that, besides it leaves your soup with coarse home made flavor.

~ Cream of Broccoli Soup ~
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Broccoli (cut into tiny florets) - 4 cups
Warm Milk (reduced fat) - 1 cup
Celery (finely chopped) - 1 and 1/2 cup
Red Onions (finely chopped) - 3/4 cup
Potato (medium sized, diced) - 1
Arugula (coarsely chopped) - 1 cup
Whole Black Pepper (coarsely crushed) - 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil
Butter (unsalted) - small pat
Hot Vegetable stock - 2 cups

For Garnish -
Red Chilli flakes - a pinch
Bread croutons - 4-5 per serving

Contraption needed -
Immersion Blender/ Heavy duty Blender 

Cut two large heads of Broccoli into tiny florets. Remove the tough fiber from the stem and chop the tender core and add to the florets. In a separate utensil, bring to boil the reserved vegetable stock. 
In a deep bottomed non-stick vessel, heat a pat of butter and splash of olive oil together. This prevents butter from burning. Saute red onions and celery. Let it wilt and cook to reduce in size. This process takes around 10 minutes. 
Add the Arugula, Potatoes and Broccoli now, season with salt and pepper. Add the hot vegetable stock and bring to boil. Warm up 1 cup of milk and add to boiling broth. Simmer and bring the veg. broth to boil, cover with lid on and let it cook till vegetables have fall-apart texture. This takes roughly 15 minutes. Turn off flame and allow to cool. Once semi-cool, blend it to a coarse puree. Serve warm or bring to boil before serving. Add more/less milk as per texture desired. I prefer to have thick consistency. Add a ladle of soup in a soup croc and garnish with red chilli flakes and croutons. Serve hot with hunks of toasted Peasant Bread/ Baguette.