Thursday, January 29, 2009

Veggie Might: Abashed Broccoli Soup

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

I am a woman who can admit when she’s wrong (most of the time). Last week, I admonished anyone who would consider making vegetable stock with “a floppy rib of celery” or any other old vegetables. You were quick to tell me that I was being silly and wasteful.

Well, I’m here to eat my words—and a bunch of borderline broccoli.

While I was in Baltimore last week, I left a beautiful, deep green head of broccoli in the vegetable crisper to wilt and yellow. When I discovered it upon my return, it almost killed my nearly week-old post-inaugural buzz. Oh, the waste!

I had a week’s worth of lunches to make, and with all the vegetable stock in my fridge and freezer, I had soup on my mind. The broccoli smelled fine, and I couldn’t bear to throw it out. There were no bad spots; it had just lost its color. I swallowed my fear of salmonella and began chopping.

The stems were tougher than usual, so I peeled off the thick outer layer. Otherwise, the whole yellowed mess of it went into the pot. Once it hit the boiling broth, it magically began to turn green again. And with the shallots and garlic, it smelled so good.

The proof was in the puree, and the puree was delicious. The little bit of soy milk gave it just a touch of creaminess without being heavy. The parsley and thyme added a fresh flavor and, of course, you can’t miss with shallots and garlic. There is nothing showy about broccoli soup. It is just simple, light, and delicious:

So far, I’ve served it over quinoa and solo to great success. (I was happy both times I ate it, and no food poisoning to report.) My roommate is out of town, or I would have made him be my royal taster. He’s got a nose (and stomach) for these things.

Thank you, Dear Readers, for the lesson in humility. Because of you, I took a chance on a peaked bunch of broccoli that would have otherwise gone in the garbage. I am richer for your comments. Plus, you saved me a $1.50; and in These Trying Economic Times, every little bit counts.

Puree of Broccoli Soup
Yields approximate 4 1-cup servings

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
5 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
l large head broccoli, chopped florets and stems (peeled)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 shallots (4 cloves), diced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
15 sprigs fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
40 grinds black pepper

1) In a large sauce pan, sauté shallots and garlic in oil for 2–3 minutes.

2) Add the broth and bring to a boil.

3) Add chopped broccoli, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil once again. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for 20–30 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

4) Stir in soy milk and parsley.

5) Remove from heat and allow to cool.

6) Puree the soup until smooth with an immersion blender or traditional blender/food processor.

7) Serve hot with crusty bread or over quinoa/rice/grain of your choice.

8) Seriously, so good over quinoa. Or just by itself. Mmm...

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
124.2 calories, 2.9g fat, $.98

1 1/2 tsp olive oil: 60 calories, 7g fat, $0.04
5 1/2 cups vegetable stock: 110 calories, .5g fat, $1.04
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk: 35 calories, 2g fat, $.20
1 large head broccoli: 207 calories, 2g fat, $1.50
3 cloves garlic: 12.6 calories, 0g fat, $.036
2 shallots: 60 calories, 0g fat, $.40
6 sprigs fresh thyme: 5 calories, 0g fat, $.09
15 sprigs fresh parsley: 7 calories, 0g fat, $.26
1 tsp salt: negligible calories and fat, $.02
40 grinds black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $.02
Total: 496.6 calories, 11.5g fat, $3.93
Per serving: 124.2 calories, 2.9g fat, $.98


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