Monday, May 14, 2012

Two Great Soups

      Like many parents, we have found getting our daughter to transition into eating a full array of vegetables challenging.  For ages, the only vegetable she would eat, besides pickled okra (a favorite snack of ours deliciously available in mail order jars from Old South Preserving in Alma, Arkansas) was french fries, so when she decided she liked broccoli and requested that I make her a broccoli soup, I was overjoyed.  

      The following recipe from French-born, Los Angeles chef Ludovic LeFebvre, currently proprietor of the wildly successful LudoBites, is simple and classic.  It originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Bon Appetit.  If you can use freshly-made chicken stock, the soup will be that much better.  Jane loved this and perhaps your kids will also.  This morning’s research turned up that chef LeFebvre once competed on Iron Chef against Mario Batali in “Battle Big Eye Tuna.”  When I tell Jane, that will add an additional fillip of interest and fun to the dish (it's a show we enjoy watching together) and permanently establish her seal of approval.

Cream of Broccoli Soup (Chef Ludovic LeFebvre)

Yield: Makes 4 servings
8 cups broccoli florets (about1 1/4 pounds)

2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup plus 4 teaspoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ground white pepper

Cook broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain broccoli. Set aside 4 small florets for garnish.
Combine broth and 1 cup cream in heavy large saucepan and bring to boil. Working in batches, puree broccoli, broth mixture, and butter in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds per batch. Return puree to same pan. Season soup to taste with salt and white pepper. (Soup can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate.)

Bring soup to simmer, thinning with water if desired. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. 

Drizzle 1 teaspoon cream over each; garnish with reserved florets.

As good as the previous soup is, Caroline and I actually prefer this one from Gourmet, December 1993.  The addition of mustard seeds and lemon is really terrific, although possibly not as kid-friendly as Jane’s favorite.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

Yield: Makes about 4 cups, serving 2

3/4 cup chopped onion
1 carrot, sliced thin
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound broccoli, chopped coarse (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup sour cream

In a heavy saucepan cook the onion, the carrot, the mustard seeds, and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is soft, add the broccoli, the broth, and the water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is very tender. In a blender purée the soup in batches until it is smooth, transferring it as it is puréed to another heavy saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, heat the soup over moderately low heat, and whisk in the sour cream (do not let the soup boil).

I recognize that broccoli season is about to yield to summer crops, but these are good recipes to have at hand when then the world turns again, as I expect it will, although currently the world seems mainly to be turned on its head.


  1. Triple Yum. I like "cream of" any kind of soup, particularly mushroom. With a dash of nutmeg. But I guess I'm jumping the gun here. That's definitely a subject for an autumn post on your part. ;-)

  2. As you know, we live near Kennett Square, the "mushroom capitol of the world." Mushroom soup is also very important to us. I did a mushroom blog (wild mushrooms on toast from Jane Grigson) a while ago. I'll find it for you. Curtis