I don't know if you celebrated Valentine's Day this week or not, but we ate our weight in steak and seafood. We didn't lose complete control thought - we managed to abstain from sweet treats this year, but I know many of you indulged in copious amounts of cream and butter and chocolate! Time to lighten things up a bit.
Enter the humble broccoli stem. Do you say stem or stalk? Anyway, my grocery store had a great deal on fresh broccoli last week so I bought a small forest and, after cutting all the florets away, I was left with all these lovely green tree trunks. If I had just one or two, I'd cut them into coins or sticks and toss them into a salad, but since I had 1 1/2 pounds worth, I decided to make a batch of broccoli stem soup. This is how it's made.
To start, trim the dry ends from the broccoli stems, but that's all - no need to peel them.
Chop the broccoli into 1/4-inch dice. Onions too.
Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet with a good drizzle of olive oil. (this is the skillet I used)
Add the onions, broccoli stems, salt, and pepper.
Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to caramelize.
You'll notice a nice brown layer of "fond" will form on the bottom of the skillet. Mmmmm!
Add chicken stock and scrape up the fond from the bottom of the skillet. That's going to add wonderful flavor to the soup!
Uh, you do make your own chicken stock, right? No? Try my recipe here. It's about a gazillions times better than store bought.
Bring the chicken stock to gentle boil and throw in a whole clove of garlic. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and puree to the thickness you desire. I like some texture to remain, so I used an immersion blender (like this one), but you could also puree the soup in batches using a blender or food processor.
That's all there is to it. A healthy, frugal soup that's gluten-free, dairy-free, and practically fat-free. Want to make it vegan too? Just use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Broccoli Stem Soup
makes 6 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds broccoli stems, diced
1 pound onions, diced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock (try my homemade)
1 whole clove of garlic, peeled
In a very large skillet over medium heat, saute broccoli stems, onions, salt, and pepper in olive oil until caramelized.
Add chicken stock and garlic clove; bring to a gentle boil for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and puree to desired thickness.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.