Marcia Kiesel's luxuriously creamy soups are the perfect starters for Thanksgiving dinner because they can be made in advance, then reheated and garnished just before serving. Other ideas are Creamy Carrot Soup with Scallions and Poppy Seeds and Creamy Parsnip Soup with Prosciutto. More Holiday Soups
Separate the broccoli stems from the heads. Measure out 3 cups of small florets and reserve. Coarsely chop the remaining broccoli. In a large pot, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the coarsely chopped broccoli to the pot along with the broth and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the broccoli is tender, about 20 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved florets, cover and simmer until barely tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the remaining 1 cup of florets and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat until richly browned, about 6 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan. Stir in the cream and milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring a few times. Season the soup with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish with the sautéed florets and croutons and serve.
The soup can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.
A full-bodied, luscious California white works best with this creamy vegetable soup.