This Creamy Broccoli Soup recipe has become one of my favourite soups to enjoy on a cold winter's day. Not only does it taste great but a serving of this soup only has about 75 calories. That's half what most creamy soups contain. The other great thing about this soup is that it is made with the part of the broccoli (the stems) that many people throw into the compost, so it saves you money as well. Fewer calories and greater savings... what's not to love.
• 2 cups broccoli stems (600 g)
• 1 large leek (or onion)
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 stalks celery (including the tops)
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp thyme
• 1 tsp cumin
• 2-3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
• 1-1 ½ cups water
• 2-3 tbsp sour cream (or ½ cup half-and-half)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• vegetable steamer
• small pot
• food processor
• large pot
• wire whisk
• garlic press
Unlike most broccoli soups there are no "florets" used in this soup, which is part of what makes it so creamy. Start saving your broccoli stems and keep them in the fridge using a sealed container (anytime you prepare broccoli for meals). You can keep stems for 2-3 weeks this way until you have at least 600 grams (approx. 2 cups). If you have more that is fine, it will simply give you a thicker soup. Chop into small pieces.
Place the vegetable steamer into the small pot, add about 1/2 cup of water and the broccoli bits. Steam the broccoli for about 7-8 minutes on high (or until very tender).
Meanwhile prepare the leek. All leeks have dirt in them, it's just a fact of life. I find the easiest way to clean them is to cut the leek near the middle, then peel back the upper green shoots and wash them individually. Then take the lower half, remove the roots and cut the remaining piece into two halfs. Then split these halves down the middle so you can see the edges. Run water from the tap and hold a section under the tap and "flip" through the layers like playing cards (see photo). Turn the piece over and do the same with the other end. Repeat with the other three pieces. Now you can mince the leek.
Clean, crush and mince the garlic cloves. If you have a garlic press that will give you the perfect results.
Dice the celery into small pieces. I usually include the leaves from the celery - after all the food processor will turn it into such tiny pieces you won't see them and they will simply add more flavour.
Add butter and olive oil to the large pot and heat. Add the leeks, garlic and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Then set aside.
It would be very difficult to prepare this soup without a food processor. It is an invaluable tool for chopping and blending foods. A blender might do the job in a pinch. Worse case scenario you will have to hand chop or mash the ingredients but the results will never be as smooth.
The steamed broccoli can be put into the food processor (about 1 cup at a time) along with the water used for steaming (the water will be green, but that's a good thing, it contains all the nutritional elements lost in the steaming process). Process on low for 30 seconds, then add half the leek/garlic/celery mix and process on high for about 1 ½ - 2 minutes. Add a little chicken broth during the processing. Put the the results into the large pot. Repeat with the other half.
Add the remaining chicken broth and the other 1 - 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium low. Add the thyme and cumin. Continue to simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered. The soup may look watery at first but simmering will start to thicken the soup.
After an hour add the sour cream and whisk it into the soup. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. If you want you can garnish with a little shredded cheese (chedder or colby are great) or a teaspoon of sour cream. If you like broccoli florets try steaming a few and add them as a garnish.
This soup can be stored in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to a week and can be frozen, for a couple of months, for later use - simply defrost, heat through and serve.
Note: You can substitute a reduced sodium or fat free chicken broth if desired.