It’s about this time of year when even the most devoted seasonal eaters among us start to waver in our devotion to winter’s produce. There are only so many potatoes, beets, and turnips a girl can eat before starting to think that $2 Whole Foods mangoes imported from warmer climes might not be a bad idea after all. Last year it got so bad that I couldn’t even look at that most delectable of all winter veggies, the butternut squash. Just thinking about it turned me off and it seemed like an endless countdown until spring’s apricots and cherries started to arrive at our farmer’s market.
So the last thing you probably want at this point is broccoli. And on top of that, a soup, no less! Believe me, I feel your pain. Even as I set out to make this soup, I was skeptical, chopping and pureeing half-heartedly, steeling myself for a heavy, wintry meal. Yes, I had read Molly’s enthusiastic post about the soup (found here on Orangette), but figured that she might not be the first food blogger among us prone to a little exaggeration or hyperbole. What a treat to find myself pleasantly surprised by this delightfully quick and modest little soup. A little bit creamy, a lot bit fresh and wholesome, this soup managed to convince me that we were on our way to spring. Was it the lemon-chive sour cream on top, so bright and tangy? Perhaps. But even served in a more ascetic way (over brown rice and right out of the microwave at work the next day), the soup still hit the spot. The birds are chirping outside my window as I type and I’m feeling optimistic. Spring is in the air, people.
Broccoli Soup with Lemon-Chive Cream (serves 4-6)
For the soup:
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, sliced (I substituted an additional large onion instead of the leeks)
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 ½ lb. broccoli, both crowns and stems, trimmed and coarsely chopped
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 rind (about 2 inches square) from a piece of Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp. kosher salt
For the sour cream:
1 cup sour cream
2 scallions, white and pale green parts only, very thinly sliced
¼ cup minced chives
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. pressed or minced garlic
1. In a small pot, warm the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for one minute. Add the broccoli, stock, Parmesan rind, and salt, and stir to mix. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 20 minutes.
2. While the soup cooks, prepare the cream. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, scallions, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, grated Parmesan, salt, and garlic, mixing until fully combined. Taste, and adjust as necessary. Serve the soup hot with a dollop of the sour cream mixture on top.