This week at the grocery store, I bought an enormous bag of broccoli florets and have since been adding broccoli to everything.
Today I decided to make a more significant dent in the bag by making cream of broccoli soup. My husband loves cream of broccoli soup and even enjoys the Campbell’s version. In the past, I’ve added Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli soup to various chicken casseroles, but we’ve both watched as the cans have disappeared completely from store shelves throughout Northern California and the Sierras.
It does still exist. But I was happy to find out today just how easy it is to make the good stuff from scratch at home.
Here are my tips and tricks for making your best cream of broccoli soup yet:
1) I use a potato to help thicken the soup. I do use heavy cream at the end, because I can’t resist the rich flavor and texture of cream, but adding the potato could have meant cutting back on the fat and using whole milk instead.
2) To boost the flavor, I sautée onion and garlic first, then add the broccoli and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
3) To make the soup really smooth (and not gritty) I use an immersion blender to liquefy the soup and then pass it through a fine strainer. Not once, but twice! I was inspired to do this by something I read in the French Laundry Cookbook
where Thomas Keller describes how liquids don’t move from one pan to another in the French Laundry kitchen without passing through a strainer. Got it? Blender. Strainer. Strainer. Done.
4) I also add spinach to boost the vibrant green color and add even more nutrients.
5) Don’t have an immersion blender yet? It’s time to get one. It simplifies soup making so much.
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 3 large cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 5 cups broccoli florets
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup raw baby spinach leaves (packed)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup sour cream
- Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sautée gently until softened and translucent - about 3 minutes.
- Add potato, broccoli and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and baby spinach leaves. The heat from the soup will wilt the leaves down right away.
- Let the soup cool a bit before adding it in batches to a blender. Return soup to pan through a strainer. Not all of the contents will make it through the strainer. Reserve the thick parts that won't strain and put them back into the blender. Then pour back into the soup.
- While reheating soup gently, add cream. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Once soup is hot again (but not boiling!) whisk in sour cream and blend completely.
- Serve with a garnish of parsley or mini broccoli spears or a tablespoon of shredded cheddar cheese or even another dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!