One day last week I received several phone calls and a text message from my husband at his office in a very short period of time. I wasn’t sure what was up since I had just been there, so I had to find out what was so urgent. “Are you near by? he asked, “A patient came in and brought me some of the biggest broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage I’ve ever seen.” I wasn’t, nearby that is, so he planned to bring them home that evening.
When he came in that evening, something was missing, the vegetables. Joe left them in the computer room on his way out and since computer rooms can get a little warm, we promptly hopped back into the car and back to the office to rescue the Brassicas and the computer room from smelling like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage!
With the advent of autumn and cooler temperatures a new harvest of Brassicas are arriving at local farmers markets.Brassicas are a genus of plant in the mustard family. They are less frequently referred to these days, as cruciferous vegetables, giving note to the crosslike shape of plant’s flowers. The usual suspects we think of most are broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts but they also include all types of radishes, turnips and even watercress. Brassicas are counted as some of the healthiest vegetables around containing high amounts of vitamin A caretonoids, vitamin C, folic acid and fiber.
With these huge veggies staring me down every time I opened the refrigerator door, the obvious question came, how was I going to use them? Cauliflower was an easy start, I like to toss the florets with olive oil, kosher salt and Aleppo and chipotle pepper. Roasted until it was a warm golden brown, we devoured the whole tray, before we even sat down to dinner one night.
Broccoli soup has always been a cooler weather favorite of ours. Previous recipes I have made were heavy in the cream, butter and cheese department. My rich broccoli cheddar soup was a yearly birthday request from one of my co workers many years ago. This time I wanted to try something a little lighter. The recipe I chose this time showcases the sweet and flavorful broccoli, accented by just a little bit of fresh herbs. Don’t forget to use the broccoli stalks as well, especially when you have very fresh broccoli, they have as much flavor as the florets. Half and half is optional, I thought the soup had a creamy texture without it.
This is a healthy soothing soup that would pair well with a salad for lunch but is elegant enough to serve as a first course when you are entertaining. Now it’s back to the kitchen for me to find creative ways to use cabbage!
- 1T butter
- 1T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1t each of fresh parsley and thyme
- 8c chopped broccoli (use both the stems and florets)
- 6c reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1/2c half and half (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste
- Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add garlic, thyme and parsley; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in broccoli. Add broth; bring to simmer over high heat and reduce heat to maintain the simmer. Cook until the broccoli is very tender, about 8 minutes.
- Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in half and half if desired.