When my kids were growing up, they all loved broccoli. Pretty unusual. One of them adored spinach and one of them always wanted pickles, but all of them would eat broccoli. So broccoli it was. A lot. To this day, when our youngest, Emily, is home from grad school, she asks for Chicken-Broccoli Casserole (a quick Chicken Divan known as “Government Girl Casserole” around the D.C area) and I don’t have to look for a recipe.
You get the picture: I seldom make broccoli anymore. Being a healthy (see below for nutrition information) and relatively inexpensive cruciferous ( a family of plants which have four petals arranged like the arms of a cross, as the mustard, radish, turnip, etc.) vegetable, I know I’d like to buy it more, but some days I just can’t. I have fallen in love with broccolini (a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli) and often sauté it with large shards of Parmesan until the cheese is a golden, crispy chip-like accompaniment. The Parm-crusted broccolini is then laid gently atop greens and tiny tomatoes with a bit of lemon, black pepper, and olive oil for a filling main-course salad.
Working on the soup cookbook for the past two months (I got an ISBN number yesterday..AHHH!!) has been one of the most positive, annoying, interesting, and P-Offing of all my cooking experiences. Somehow, the first soup I worked on (can’t remember why) was broccoli. Too funny. Maybe I had a plethora in the vegetable bin for some terribly odd reason; I don’t know. Maybe it was on sale. Whatever; that soup is out to a couple of testers now, but I’ll share it here with you. I’ve made it several times shall we say. If you make it, I’d enjoy knowing how your soup turned out. Read this carefully as we’re in the middle of a wretchedly hot summer in the U.S. (unless you’re an Australian or Scot reader):
This soup is luscious hot or cold. The cold version is served differently: instead of the brie toasting on top, you put a spoonful of peppered (or you could use lemon peel) yogurt down in the middle of the soup as a surprise to your table mates. Being sure ahead of time, naturally, everyone eats dairy. To serve cold, make it early in the morning before the heat of the day claims your kitchen. Let cool and refrigerate covered until dinnertime.
Shopping note: Fine French brie is an expensive, highly caloric treat. While I’m crazy about it, I wouldn’t necessarily use it in this soup, though of course you can if you like. (I like my French brie as is.) Domestic brie, often made in the great state of Wisconsin, is sold for a great deal less and is fine here. The Whole Foods in St. Paul, for example, sells a good-sized wedge for $2.99–a sale price, but it’s often on sale. I haven’t checked the Colorado Springs Whole Foods for its availability. Anyway….
Try the little preview from my soup book and have fun!
This soup is warm and filling without being heavy. Made with puréedbroccoli and other vegetables, it appears to be a cream soup, but contains no cream. Topped with a slice of brie and slipped under the broiler for a few minutes until toasty, it’s a perfect lunch for guests arriving midday. Ladled into tiny bowls or cups, hot or cold, it’s a first course for a birthday dinner with the surprise of a tiny spoonful of peppered Greek yogurt hidden in the middle. While it may take a few minutes past the 30-minute mark, it’s worth it!
|Still working on getting a good picture!|
Broccoli Soup with Toasted Brie 4-6 servings
- · 2 quarts low-salt chicken stock**, heated in microwave or on stove
- · 2 tablespoon olive oil
- · Crushed red pepper, fresh ground black pepper, and kosher salt
- · 2 garlic cloves (one left whole to flavor oil and one chopped for the soup)
- · 1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into eighths
- · 3 stalks celery, trimmed, and cut into 2” pieces
- · 2 carrots, trimmed, and cut into 1” pieces
- · ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- · 1½ teaspoon herbes de Provence (or a mix of dried basil, thyme and rosemary)
- · 5 cups fresh broccoli, trimmed well, and chopped finely*
- · Hot sauce, 4-6 drops, or to taste
- · Zest and juice of one lemon
- · 6 1-oz slices of Brie
a few facts about raw broccoli
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a standard 100 g serving of raw broccoli has 34 calories with .37 g fat, 1.70 g sugars, 6.64 g carbohydrates, 2.6 g dietary fiber and 2.82 g protein. Broccoli also contributes greatly to your daily vitamin and mineral requirements. For example, raw broccoli delivers 89.2 g of vitamin C, which equates to 149 percent of your daily allowance. In its raw state, broccoli provides 9 percent of your daily requirement of potassium and 12 percent vitamin A.
Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine.
38 Power Foods is a group effort! Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available.
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Anabanana – adobodownunder.blogspot.com
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved. If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
One of my great cooking heroes, Marion Cunningham, is now cooking in that great perfect kitchen where the Tupperware bowls and lids all match and the whole world comes to the table in peace to ease their hunger…. Read my tribute to Marion on the Dinner Place Blog.
|Bannocks- a simple, flat, oaty, crispy Scottish cracker-bread..from Marion’s BREAKFAST BOOK|
Sing a new song; cook something of Marion’s,