Given this soup's supremely silky texture, you’ll think it's made with cream, but that texture actually comes from a potato pureed into the broth. For contrast, Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple tops the soup with crispy broccoli florets and croutons.
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1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups chicken stock or broth
One 8-ounce baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds broccoli stems peeled and sliced, florets cut into 1/2-inch pieces
One 5-ounce package baby spinach
4 ounce sourdough or ciabatta bread, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Snipped chives, for garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large pot, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and the stock, potato, broccoli stems and two-thirds of the florets. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the potato and broccoli are very soft, about 30 minutes. Stir in the spinach until wilted.
Meanwhile, on one side of a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the remaining broccoli florets with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the broccoli florets for 10 minutes. Spread the bread on the other half of the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until the florets and croutons are browned and crisp.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the crispy broccoli and croutons. Garnish with snipped chives and serve.
The soup can be refrigerated overnight. The broccoli florets and croutons can be made early in the day and stored at room temperature.
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