Monday, December 12, 2011

Creamy Broccoli Soup, Without the Cream

So if you are like most people, you are in the midst of holiday mode.  Almost everyone deviates from their usual eating habits this time of year.  Shopping and eating on the run, the inevitable treats that invade the office, parties and social gatherings can wreak havoc on the diets of the most disciplined eater.  It's always good to have a few light dinner ideas to counteract the evils of holiday indulgences.

This broccoli soup is a perfect antidote for a day of bad eating.  I find myself making a soup like this for a light dinner after Paul spends a Sunday afternoon with the boys watching football.  Watching football really means eating wings, nachos, pigs in a blanket and drinking beer.  He's not usually hungry for dinner on those days, but at 7:30 or 8:00pm he's looking for something to fill "his empty spot".  A bowl of soup served with a crusty bread does the trick.

I must admit, I love a good broccoli cheddar soup, but sometimes you want to go lighter.  I make this creamy broccoli soup with low fat milk or non-fat evaporated milk and a little bit of parmesan cheese.  It is thickened with my secret weapon.... a potato.  It cooks up in about 45 minutes.  

Creamy Broccoli Soup
Click here for printable recipe
Serves 4

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped into small pieces, including the stems (about 5 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed 
  • 1 quart chicken broth (vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 cup of evaporated non-fat milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese and more for a shaved parmesan garnish
  • salt and pepper*
  • red pepper - optional
  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot.  
  2. Add the shallots and celery and sauté over medium heat until the the vegetables are softened, do not brown them.
  3. Add chopped broccoli, potato and chicken broth to the pot.  Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
  4. After it reaches a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat.  Simmer for 20 minutes until the broccoli and potatoes are soft.
  5. Now you have a choice, you can allow the soup to cool slightly, and puree it in a blender in 2 batches OR you can use a stick blender and carefully blend it right in the pot.  The stick blender gives you a little chunkier texture, it's your call.
  6. Return the soup to the pot (if you used the blender) and stir in the milk, heat for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with shaved parmesan and sprinkle of red pepper.
* I don't indicate amounts of salt and pepper because I don't know what kind of broth you are using.  I use homemade and it is well seasoned, so I don't add much salt at all.  The parmesan will add salt so go gently.  You can always add seasoning, you can't take it out.

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