Who can say no to a big bowl of delicious, creamy broccoli soup made from scratch?
For the longest time, I didn’t really care for broccoli. Maybe because it’s touted as something that is “good for you”, I just naturally rebelled against it. Maybe because it was always paired with an olive oil, and I wished for a more filling combination. Then, one day, I decided to give broccoli another chance. It was nothing fancy, just steamed broccoli with a big pat of lightly salted pastured butter melted on top. And goodness, was it good! It was just missing a big chunk of butter all these years. Since then, I’ve learned that butter from exclusively grass-fed cows is “good for you” too! And boy, was that a revelation — all this time I had the wrong impression that things that are good for you aren’t that tasty. Broccoli soon became one of my favorite veggies.
Check out this little cute broccoli floret. You can just eat this steamed with butter. It's the stalks that need to be pureed into soup to be just as yummy!
Recently, I’ve also been into experimenting with soups. After investing in a trusty stainless steel immersion blender (Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender is the one I’ve been using – it’s awesome), I’ve been obsessed with making soups. I recently made a very simple creamy cauliflower soup that doesn’t involve any dairy or gluten. Another one of my favorite soups is a vegetarian one that I posted on midEATS: the Egyptian red lentil soup (I do sneak in a couple of vegetables in there, but I’m partial to the delicious lentil flavor). And after recently learning about the many benefits of bone broth, I usually save the bones from a pastured and organic chicken or turkey that I buy and when I’m ready for broth, I simmer the bones for several hours overnight till they’ve released their collagen, gelatin, vitamins and other goodness, and I use that broth in my non-vegetarian soups! I also often boil a pastured chicken to yield a simple chicken stock that I use as a base for many of my soups.
Making a soup using broccoli was just the next logical step in my soup-making extravaganza. I’ll let you in on another secret: I still haven’t learned to enjoy the fibrous, crunchy broccoli stalks in their original form. Buttered up broccoli florets are perfect when they’re slightly soft but haven’t lost their crunch entirely. Broccoli stalks, on the other hand, don’t easily yield to heat in the same way; plus, their flavor is less interesting than the delicate florets. Buttering up the stalks just doesn’t cut it and eating them still feels like a mini-chore. But not eating them isn’t an option for me either: throwing out the vitamin-rich stalks just because they’re not super palatable when eaten whole might be the stupidest move — both for your health, and for the sake of world hunger (stop the trend of wasting food!).
Don't waste healthy food. Chop up those broccoli stalks and add 'em to your soup!
So, I’ve devised a way to save both the broccoli stalks and the bones from pastured birds from being added to the growing bins of food waste! Cooking the sliced stalks, along with carrots and caramelized sauteed onions, in bone broth and pureeing them into a velvety perfection is the answer. If that’s not a good example of frugal eating, I don’t know what is! I’ve tried with both bone broth from turkey bones I’ve saved from the Thanksgiving turkey, and with chicken stock from a pastured chicken. Either way, the soup is tasty as it is with only the veggies and broth, but adding some raw grass-fed milk in there takes the soup from good to stellar. Adding a cup of raw milk after the soup has cooked imparts that delicious creaminess to the soup. In terms of spices, I like to keep it simple with just a little sprinkle of organic ground ginger and fresh sage leaves.
As delicious as it looks!
And what’s an authentic broccoli soup without some cheese? I leave the cheese out of the large pot, and offer it as an optional side. I’ve tried crumbling bits of the grass-fed Kerrygold Dubliner into my broccoli soup, and I loved the wonderfully salty and cheesy taste it imparts. The Dubliner is pasteurized but at least it’s full-fat and grass-fed. According to Kerrygold’s website, the Dubliner is “aged for 12 months, and has elements of a mature cheddar, sweet nutty tones of a Swiss and the piquant bite of aged Parmesan.” You can try melting any type of grass-fed hard cheese into the soup — just makes the soup-making process that much more interesting, in my opinion!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: saute simmer blender soup/stew gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free low-carb broccoli winter fall
- 4 large organic broccoli stems, peeled and cut into chunks (of course, you may also use the florets if you wish; but soups are a good way to eat the otherwise fibrous stems)
- 3-4 large organic carrots, chopped
- 6 cups homemade chicken or turkey bone broth or homemade chicken stock (using pastured and organic chicken or turkey) – I used turkey bone broth from Thanksgiving turkey bones that I had saved in the freezer – turned out fabulous
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 cup raw whole milk from grass-fed cows (use organic, grass-fed low-temp pasteurized milk if you have no access to raw milk)
- 1 tablespoon grass-fed organic ghee or pastured butter
- 3 tablespoons fresh organic sage leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger
- Unrefined salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Kerrygold Dubliner or other hard cheese, preferably raw and grass-fed (optional)
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste (optional)
(1) Prepare the bone broth or stock: If you have no broth or stock on hand, use some saved bones (that you’ve previously frozen) from pastured birds to make a nutritious broth by simmering the bones overnight in a pot-full of filtered water, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, an onion, some carrots and celery, and spices. You can also make stock in advance by boiling the pastured bird for an hour or two with an onion, some bay leaves and cardamom seeds, and some salt and pepper. For either, make sure to filter the veggies, bones and spices out before saving the liquid in a glass jar. This recipe assumes you have either bone broth or homemade stock previously prepared.
I regularly freeze bones from pastured animals (pictured here: turkey bones) and use them to make broth. It's a frugal way to add some vitamins to your diet!
(2) Chop and saute onion: Peel and dice an onion. In a large stainless steel pot, melt a tablespoon of grass-fed ghee or pastured butter, and saute the onion on medium heat until it has caramelized a bit and has become fragrant, stirring occasionally throughout.
You can use other varieties of onions you have on hand instead of the yellow onion; it's more flexible than you think!
(3) Chop broccoli and carrots and add to pot: Peel the broccoli stalks and chop into small pieces. Chop the carrots as well. Add chopped broccoli and carrots to the pot and saute on medium heat for a few minutes with the onions, stirring frequently.
Again, you don't have to use large carrots. I just sub in baby carrots if these are on hand.
I found that lightly sauteing all the veggies together for a few minutes gives a nicer flavor than just boiling them right after the onion has caramelized.
(4) Pour the stock or bone broth in the pot: Measure approximately three parts stock to two parts veggies, and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and leave to simmer on low for 35 minutes, until the broccoli stalks and carrots have become soft.
(5) Puree the soup, and add milk and spices: Using an immersion blender, blend the soup into liquid. Then, add a cup of raw whole milk to the pot, and blend once again to integrate the flavors. Finally, add the ground ginger, fresh chopped sage leaves and unrefined salt and black pepper, and bring the hand blender to a final whirl. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.
I guess you could use heavy cream instead of milk if you have that on hand. I prefer eating my cream raw though!
(6) Add the cheese and lemon juice (optional): If you wish, you can add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to the soup for a little zest. In individual plates, you can also add thin slices of hard tasty grass-fed cheese for a little extra flavor and for the texture of melted goodness. Either way, make sure to serve warm, and enjoy!
I've tried this soup with and without cheese, and have loved it both ways.
This post has been shared on Easy, Natural Food’s Sunday Night Soup Night, on Butter Believer’s Sunday School Blog Carnival and The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania.