Friday, September 2, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup from Chef Ludovic LeFebvre

Hello all!
I've made it through the work week and am going on vacation to beautiful Nantucket! To tell the truth, I've never been there, and I haven't any idea if it's really beautiful, or if it looks like the bottom of my shoe, but I don't care. I'm going on vacation for a week, and the countdown is over. Disclaimer: I love my job, and I adore my coworkers... but sometimes these breaks are so long overdue. Man, I can't wait.
So during this final week to pass the time, I started cruising the internet and looking for something really homey and delicious to make with the gorgeous broccoli I had picked up from my favorite farm stand, Kimball Fruit Farms at the Dewey Square Farmers Market. You guys must be so sick of hearing about the farmers market by now... but check yourself; that beautiful market is going to be gone soon, and then all you'll hear about is mac and cheese and other non-fresh winter staples. Mac and cheese is an entire winter food group.
Through my perusing, I found a lovely, simple recipe by Ludovic LeFebvre, who you might recognize as Ludo from Top Chef Masters a while back. His recipe involves four ingredients: broccoli, heavy cream (I am substituting half and half, because I have it on hand), butter, and water. It also allows me to use my immersion blender, which is terrific because I get on kicks where I need to puree everything (check that box on this one). 
So, Ludo recommends starting with about eight cups of broccoli florets, which I prepped easily, and set aside. Put a pot of water on the boil, and when ready, dump in your broccoli. It should boil for about five minutes, so that the florets turn a brilliant, vibrant green color. When finished, place a colander over a large bowl, and drain your broccoli, reserving the water to thin out your soup.
While you're waiting for the water to boil, you can prep the creamy portion of this soup. Take two cups of chicken stock, and about a cup of half and half or cream, and three tablespoons of butter, and allow the liquid to boil in a large pot. When boiled, bring it down to a simmer, throw in your cooked broccoli, and begin to puree using the immersion blender. If it appears too thick, add a little bit of the broccoli water which you had saved earlier. Really blend the living shit out of this, because you want it to be creamy and as smooth as can be. It'll still be a little bit chunky at the end, which makes things interesting, but in my book, smoother = fancier. 
When your soup is the right consistency, give a taste, and add salt and pepper to your liking. You're finished. This warm, creamy soup tastes so vividly of fresh broccoli. It's got a little bit of fiberous chunk to it from all of those little flowery florets, but this just gives it another interesting dimension. It tastes of the harvest, of fresh vegetables with just the right amount of buttery, creamy flavor. It's really a rich soup, and would make for a perfect appetizer for say a Thanksgiving dinner. You can also prep it early, and it should keep in the fridge for about a day or two. What a delicious soup... blended, not stirred.
Have a fantastic Labor Day Weekend, everyone! I'll check back in with some of the delectable edibles of Nantucket as time allows. 

8 cups broccoli florets
2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup half and half or cream
3 tablespoons of butter
Salt, pepper, water (for boiling the broccoli)

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