Not only is this the easiest -- but it is also the most flavorful cream of broccoli soup you will ever have! Honestly. The stalks of the broccoli have always been overlooked when making this soup, with chefs using the bland, almost tasteless florets, which really only adds color instead of flavor. This soup is light green in color and the sweet stalks are, far and above, more flavorful than thedarker green tops. And as suggested below, many restaurants use non-dairy creamer in soups and chowders now. The reason? Because the soup holds up far longer in a steam table without curdling, as milk based soups have a tendency to do if left on heat throughout the day. You may be surprised at the great flavor of this alternative. 3 cups sliced broccoli stalks, 1/2-inch wide
1 teaspoon dried chives, optional
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Vegetable or chicken broth as needed
1 cup light cream, half-and-half or whole milk*
Salt and black pepper to taste
Add broccoli stalks to a large saucepan and add enough water to cover by 4 inches. Boil over high heat for 13-15 minutes, or until very tender. Transfer, in batches, to a food processor or blender along with the chives, celery seeds and liquid; puree until smooth.
Add back into saucepan, making sure you have at least 4 cups pureed broccoli and liquid. If needed, add vegetable broth along with cream, and seasoning to taste. A good rule of thumb here is add a 1/4 cup cream to every cup of pureed broccoli and water.
Enough for 2-3 people.
[Want even less calories? Mix 1/2 cup non dairy coffee creamer with 1/2 a cup of hot water and whisk until smooth. Add this to the soup instead of cream or milk.]
Chef Jim Baley -- The Yankee Chef -- is a noted food columnist, cookbook author and the foremost New England Food Historian. He is a third generation chef and historian and lives in Maine with his wife and four children. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.