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Monday, October 25, 2010

Recipe: Cream of Broccoli (or Any Vegetable) Soup

Makes 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

There are thousands of recipes for true cream of vegetable soups, but the differences among them are subtle at best. Basically, you cook the vegetable you want with good flavorings until it's done. Then you puree it and reheat it with cream. (The addition of rice or potatoes makes the soup smooth and creamy without outrageous amounts of cream. One-quarter cup is enough to lighten the color and smooth the texture; one full cup lends an incompatible richness.)

About 1 lb broccoli, trimmed & cut up, to yield about 4 loosely packed cups broccoli, or the equivalent amount of cauliflower, carrots, turnips, celery, or other vegetable
½ C rice or 1 medium baking potato, peeled& cut into quarters
4 C chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ to 1 C heavy or light cream or half-and-half
Minced fresh parsley leaves or chives for garnish

Combine the broccoli, rice or potato, and stock or water in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Cool slightly, then puree in a food mill or in a blender. Return to the pot and reheat over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper, then add the cream; heat through again, garnish, and serve.

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