Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Contrary to what this week's weather might have you believe, it is actually fall and for me, fall is soup season. While I did enjoy this brief return to summer weather, I found myself longing for true fall, when hearty soups like this one are immensely satisfying and I can indulge in my favorite fall flavors and types of dishes. The spice of the mustard seeds paired with the broccoli gives the soup true fall flavor, accented by subtle hint of brightness and acidity from the lemon juice, with the sour cream lending just enough creaminess to make the soup feel luxurious without becoming too heavy. If you have time for an extra step, I recommend roasting the broccoli for an extra dimension of flavor, but this simple collection of ingredients is already more than the sum of its parts. This soup serves two as main course alongside a side salad and a roll or slice of crusty bread (or Wasa bread, as I've done here) or four as first course or side to a sandwich. If you have any leftovers the next day, the soup takes on a new dimension as the flavors have been allowed to meld together and develop even further. Once the regular temperatures of fall return, dig out your soup pot and venture into the comforting dishes of fall.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
from Gourmet, via Epicurious
serves 2

3/4 cup chopped onion
1 carrot, sliced thin
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound broccoli, chopped coarse (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup sour cream

1. In a heavy saucepan cook the onion, the carrot, the mustard seeds, and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is soft, add the broccoli, the broth, and the water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender.
2. In a blender purée the soup in batches until it is smooth, transferring it as it is puréed to another heavy saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, heat the soup over moderately low heat, and whisk in the sour cream (do not let the soup boil).

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