Creamy Broccoli Soup with Almond Rocket Pesto
In my veg box last week I received some lovely Purple Sprouting Broccoli, which according to Beanies blog has been growing well in all the Spring sunshine we’ve had. I decided to try a Broccoli Soup recipe based on one from a restaurant called Rebar in my home town of Victoria, BC, which I’ve made a couple of times before.
This time I replaced the regular broccoli with the sprouting purple variety. I also swapped the parsley and the Parmesan cheese in the pesto for peppery rocket or arugula as Canadians call it, and a hard goats’ cheese. The original recipe only uses the broccoli florets, but I used the leaves and stems (where possible) in order to limit waste and in my view… the more veg the better!
I love how the pesto in this recipe adds a punch of flavour to the soup however don’t be tempted to add more garlic to the pesto! As a garlic lover I often add more than a recipe calls for, but I can attest to the fact that there is no need in this case as the first time I tested this recipe I got a wicked headache from adding extra garlic to the pesto, so be warned!
I’m linking this recipe to Helen and Michelle’s Extra Veg blog event for March, a brilliant and healthy idea which is all about adding an extra portion of veg to your meals/snacks therefore filling you up so you’re less likely to munch on the bad stuff! I’m also entering this recipe for Ren’s Simple and in Season blog event and Elizabeth’s Shop Local blog event.
Written by Corin
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
For the Soup
- 1400ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
- 1200g of purple sprouting broccoli including leaves and useable stem
- If unavailable you can use 3 large heads of green broccoli instead
- 225g spinach, stemmed
- 240ml double cream
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
For the Pesto
- 70g of rocket
- 120g of flaked almonds, toasted
- 1 garlic clove (medium sized or 2 smaller cloves)
- 75g hard goats’ cheese, grated
- 70ml olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto
- Put the rocket, almonds, garlic clove and goats’ cheese in the food processor.
- Pulse to combine and then slowly pour in the oil.
- Mix until smooth and season to taste.
For the Soup
- Prepare the broccoli by cutting off any of the stems that are too tough, and then peel the remaining outside of the stems to remove any further toughness. Reserve 2 cups of broccoli florets generally the same size including about an inch or 2 of the stems and set aside for later. Roughly chop the remaining broccoli, leaves, and stems. Make sure you cut out the stems of the broccoli leaves if these are tough, or at least cut the stems up the middle lengthwise to soften them up.
- Gently heat the vegetable or chicken stock in a saucepan and keep it warm while preparing the rest of the soup.
- Over a medium to high heat, heat the vegetable oil in the stockpot and sauté the onion until it is translucent. Add the garlic, salt, thyme and chilli flakes and cook for a few more minutes.
- Mix in the broccoli, leaves and stems as well as the potato. Cook for a few minutes and then add the stock to cover. Simmer, partially covered until the potatoes and broccoli are just cooked.
- While the soup is simmering, bring a small/medium saucepan of water to the boil.
- Prepare a bowl of iced water with 5-10 cubes. You’ll be plunging the reserved florets of broccoli into the iced water when you take it off the heat. Quenching in cold water will prevent it from loosing it’s colour.
- When the saucepan has reached a rolling boil add 1 teaspoon of salt (which will increase the boil) then carefully add the reserved broccoli florets. The broccoli is done when it is slightly softened although still bright green and firm. This takes around 1-2 minutes after the water has started to re-boil after the broccoli florets have been added.
- When the broccoli is done remove it using a skimmer or slotted spoon and put it into the bowl of iced water.
- Let the broccoli cool and then remove it from the water on to a clean towel to dry.
- Remove the stockpot from the heat and stir in the spinach. Once the spinach wilts, puree the mixture with a hand blender or soup blender until almost smooth. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Reheat the soup if necessary, and then serve with a garnish of broccoli florets and a dollop of pesto in each bowl.