Soup: it's not just a meal category, it's a lifestyle. We "soup" a lot in the Smith house- I am even one of those freaks that orders soup in the sweltering summer months. From chunky stews to fragrant broths, I'm here for them all- but creamy, pureed soups may be my favorite type. And who doesn't love a comforting bowl of cheesy broccoli soup? Or a silky serving of potato leek? This is my attempt at a lightened mashup of these aforementioned classics. I've nixed the heavy cream and gobs of cheese and have zero regrets about it- this Broccoli Potato Soup is smooth, creamy and DREAMY minus the added dairy. The ingredients here are simple yet the flavor is complex. You may not use leeks frequently in your kitchen, but I love their grassy, mild "onionyness." When working with leeks, trim off the root ends and discard the dark green tops (or save them for making stock). Then slice up the remaining white and light green parts and rinse very well to remove any grit or sand that might have been trapped in those leeky nooks and crannies. You need two essential tools for making this recipe: a heavy dutch oven and an immersion blender. The immersion blender is one of my all time favorite kitchen tools and I consider it a must have- it's the key to creaminess minus the mess! A blender or food processor always makes for a good substitute, but you will probably need to work in batches (and always use caution when blending hot liquids). I like to leave some consistent texture in this soup but any big chunks should be pulsed away. I love a good soup garnish, especially on a blended soup since the ingredients may not be immediately be obvious. The optional crispy broccoli garnish is pretty as well as delicious- a crisp contrast to the creamy soup that lets everyone know what's inside their bowl. A drizzle of olive oil, some extra grated parmesan cheese and a hunk of crusty bread complete the effect. This is so yummy- I hope you try it soon!
prep time: ~10 min. cook time: ~45 min. serves: 4-6
extra virgin olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
2 plump cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 large heads of broccoli, separated into florets and stems peeled and cut into chunks (reserve 1 heaping cup of the florets for garnish*)
1 lb yukon gold potatoes (about 2 or 3 medium), cut into 2" pieces
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine (like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
creme fraiche, for serving (optional)
To make the crispy broccoli garnish, preheat the oven 425° and line a small sheet pan with foil or parchment. Tear the cup of reserved broccoli florets into smaller pieces and toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the florets in the oven until crisp and charred in places, about 15-20 min. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a dutch oven or heavy soup pot with about 1 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and sweat for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until they have softened. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Add the broccoli, potatoes, basil leaves, white wine, 6 cups stock, 2-1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to simmer 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan. Using an immersion blender, coarsely purée the soup until no large pieces remain and the ingredients are an even consistency (you can also do this in batches in a blender or food processor). Return the pot to the stove over low heat to keep warm, adding more stock if the soup seems too thick and more salt and pepper if it needs extra seasoning.
To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and drizzle with some more olive oil. Top with grated parmesan and a few of the crispy broccoli florets and/or a dollop of creme fraiche if you desire! Dunk with crusty bread and enjoy!