I had a nice large broccoli crown with a medium large stem that we hadn't used and it was starting to develop a yellow color on a few florets. I like vegetables and fruits to be fresh so I had to figure out how to use the broccoli, for simply throwing it away would be wasteful, and I wasn't about to lightly steam it as I normally do as the quality would be less than we require. By coincidence, I had recently eaten an excellent cream of broccoli soup while vacationing in Florida, so I decided to try my hand at making that soup.
As usual I sought a variety of recipes from the Internet, thought about the ingredient differences between them, and came up with my own composite recipe. I am very pleased with the result, so this recipe belongs in Food Nirvana. I hope you enjoy it as I do. Typically, foods that contain cream and are served hot are not candidates for preservation by freezing, but according to the recipes I read a few indicated that this soup freezes well. I tried that and it worked pretty well. But pretty well isn't good enough! I want perfect soup so I have included instructions in the recipe below to freeze the soup, and vacuum seal it if you can, prior to adding the cream. That will guarantee that when you later thaw the frozen soup and heat it to thicken it and then add the cream that it will be perfect.
Note that you can make cream of cauliflower soup with this recipe by simple substitution, or, you can mix a combination of broccoli and cauliflower and have a unique and very tasty cream soup. Go for it!
One large broccoli crown, about 5 to 6 inches in diameter
2, 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth
3 tablespoons of butter
½ cup of diced sweet onion
½ cup of diced celery
1 large fresh clove of garlic, diced
3/4 teaspoon of white pepper
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
10 ounces of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of corn starch
Put the chicken broth into a three quart saucepan.
Break up or cut up the broccoli into florets and stem pieces, after cutting off the bottom of the stem, and add all of the broccoli to the chicken stock.
Add the sprigs of fresh thyme to the chicken stock.
Bring the chicken stock mixture to a boil on medium high heat, covered, then reduce the heat to a very low simmer and simmer the contents for 30 minutes.
While the broccoli is simmering, saute´ the onion and celery in the butter in a small skillet on very low heat until the onion is transparent. Then add the garlic and continue to saute´ for two minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside for 30 minutes, uncovered, to allow the contents to cool.
Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.
Put some of the broccoli and chicken broth into a blender and blend on medium speed until the mixture is completely uniform with a thick sauce consistency. Process/blend the sauteed onion, celery, garlic, butter and the remainder of the broccoli and chicken broth the same way.
Return all of the well blended soup mixture to the saucepan.
Add the salt, the pepper and the corn starch, mixing the cornstarch into the soup mixture completely.
If you plan to eat the soup right away then proceed with the remainder of the recipe instructions below. If instead you want to freeze the soup and use it at a later time then follow the instructions in the remainder of this paragraph. Chill the soup, then vacuum seal it and freeze it. When you are ready to make the final soup then thaw the frozen soup and put it into the three quart saucepan. Proceed as indicated next.
Bring the saucepan contents to a 200+ degrees F simmer/low boil on low to medium heat, stirring often to avoid having the soup mixture stick to the bottom of the saucepan. That will cause the cornstarch to thicken the soup. I recommend using a candy thermometer to approach and then hold the temperature well below 210 degrees F, to avoid boiling the soup.
Once the soup has thickened, turn off the heat, let the soup cool to around 190 degrees F and then add the heavy cream and stir until the soup is well mixed.
Serve the soup and let each guest adjust the seasoning to taste with sea salt and white pepper.
Enjoy! This stuff is really good ... Far better than you might imagine. Serve it with some crackers and butter. You will get nice compliments.