2 large heads broccoli (3 1/2 pounds total), stems peeled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
How to Make It
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.
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