So I thought I would try looking for a lighter version. Lo and behold I found a recipe adapted from, you guessed it, America's Test Kitchen. I swear I use recipes from other sources, just not right now.
This soup benefits from tons of broccoli--I weeded out recipes using only 6 or 8 oz of broccoli, which is not enough. I mean what am I supposed to do with the rest of the broccoli head? It also uses leeks instead of onions. While I'm sure you could substitute onions, I think the leeks gave this soup a leaner bite that kept it from being too cloying.
However, I could totally be making that up.
The soup derives its "thickness" from evaporate fat free milk (genius) and of course some blending at the end.
Keep in mind that this isn't a thick, creamy soup. It is definitely more of a soup as opposed to a hearty chowder-type consistency. Nevertheless, the flavor was spot-on and for the sake of continuing to excuse my lack of exercise, I would make this soup again.
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
- 1 bunch broccoli (about 1 ½ pounds), florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and rinsed thoroughly (see leek-cleaning method here)
- 2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup fat-free evaporated milk (in these parts, this product comes in 5 oz. cans, which is a bit less than 3/4 cup. Nobody threw the soup back in my face so I think the 5 oz. is okay.)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) (okay I might have been a little more generous with the cheddar cheese--that or my 4 oz. were super 4 oz. because I ended up with about 2 cups)
- Salt and pepper
Serves 4 to 6
Hack your broccoli to pieces. Keep the florets and stems separate.
Prep your leeks (see link above to how to clean leeks).
In a large pot, combine the broccoli STEMS (not the florets, not yet, oh just you wait), leeks, oil and 1/8 tsp salt and turn heat to medium or medium low. Cover (I forgot to do this) and cook, stirring once or twice, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover and stir in garlic.
Stir in broth and water, and raise heat to medium high to bring mixture to a simmer.
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low to keep things at a simmer, until broccoli stems are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, cover, and cook until everything is tender, about 5 minutes.
Now for the blending. You can either use an immersion blender or a regular blender. If using an immersion blender, you'll kinda have to "trap" broccoli pieces with the immersion blender "cup", blend it, then pick it up and move it around to get all the pieces. Don't lift the immersion blender too much or else you'll spatter. It's like playing whack a mole.
If you use a traditional blender, do it in two batches. I can't give you any more tips because the last time I blended a hot liquid it exploded all over the place, even after taking the precaution of taking out the center thingamajig from the lid. If you use a blender, transfer the mixture back to the pot after you're done.
Whisk in the evaporated milk and mustard, and warm over low heat.
Makes a nice, light meal with a couple of toasted bread slices. Ta-da!