What do you do when you find some sad looking, rubbery broccoli in the depths of your refrigerator? Me… I make soup. We’ve been eating out often lately due to our hectic schedule and I’ve been neglecting my crisper drawer in my fridge. Digging through, I found broccoli, zucchini, a little fresh basil and a few red peppers on the cusp of being inedible. So dinner was cream of broccoli and zucchini with roasted red pepper garnish. Contrary to popular belief, cream of broccoli need not be fat laden with tons of cheese. I finished the soup off with a little bit of half and half, but it was not really necessary. Too bad the parsley was well beyond salvage, because it would have made a nice fresh garnish… you can’t win ’em all!
Cream of Broccoli and Zucchini Soup
1 lb broccoli
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and rough chop
4 c chicken stock (low sodium)
1/2 lb zucchini, cut into 1 inch rounds
3 tbsp basil, chopped
1/4 c half and half (optional)
1. Cut the broccoli florets into large (about 2 inch) pieces. Peel the stalk and cut into 1 inch pieces.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring often for another 2 minutes.
3. Carefully pour the chicken stock in and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broccoli stalk, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the florets and simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Remove 1-2 florets to garnish the finished soup and set aside. Add the zucchini and simmer until everything is tender, another 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and very carefully, puree the hot soup, preferably with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, use a regular one, but only fill 1/2 way, and do not seal the top when pureeing. Instead, cover with several layers of kitchen towels. Otherwise, you will spew hot soup around the kitchen! After the soup is smooth, add the basil and puree a little more to incorporate the basil into the soup. Stir in the half and half and check your seasonings. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Makes 4-6 Servings