Saturday, July 14, 2012

chilled broccoli soup

lunch is ready

There comes a time.

When there are only two weeks left to the deadline.

And so.

I must go deep into writing. Until it’s all done and handed in.

an abstract drizzle

Friends, it’s taken me way too long to write about this broccoli soup and while I much ephemera to share with you, like how I ran into Jason Segel and was so excited, I lost all ability to speak, they will all have to wait.

I’ve got a few weeks left with the book until I get to hand it in, then tell you all about it. But until then, I’m going into hiding: just me and my trusty computer. Maybe a few pens, a highlighter or two, and a notebook.

Wish me luck. And make this soup. I suspect that by the time you read this line, you’ve figured it out already.

chilled broccoli soup

Chilled Broccoli Soup

Depending on how much of broccoli you want your soup to taste, you will choose to use water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock. Sometimes I want my soup to have more heft, in which case, I pull out some stock from my freezer stock-piles (get it? Stock piles? Heh.) Other times I want it to taste so purely of broccoli, I don’t want anything else to get in the way – so I use water. Which works out particularly well on days when I didn’t plan ahead. I omitted the garlic here because, when it comes to chilled summer soups, and I want to highlight a particular vegetable, garlic can sort of be an attention hog. If you really can’t skip garlic in your soup, I suggest using something mild, like garlic scapes to give it a garlicky hint, but at the same time, it won’t be hijacking the soup’s true broccoli flavor, which is clean, refreshing, and lovely.

In making this soup, I realized that it’s one of those perfect things that can be made for a cocktail party. You make the soup ahead of time and then pour it into little shooters and then guests can have it as a tiny h’ors d’oeuvre. If you’re hosting one of those fancy dinner parties, it’s a great thing to serve as an amuse bouche perhaps – though that leaves you with quite a bit of soup for the next day. But I don’t think that’s hardly a problem, do you?

Olive oil
1 pound broccoli (about 1 bunch), chopped into florets stems included and chopped as well
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. In a stock pot or a Dutch oven (about 5 quarts should do it), warm enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the broccoli (you may need to do this in batches) so that it has room between the florets, and brown the broccoli on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. While the broccoli is browning, do not move or stir the broccoli. Remove from the pot and set aside. Repeat with the remaining broccoli; add more olive oil if necessary.

2. If you need to add some oil to cook the onion, add a glug of it, and then add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the onion until it is soft, about 5 minutes. It’s okay for the onion to pick up a tiny bit of color, but don’t let it get too much color. Add the broccoli back and add the stock or water, depending on your preference. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the soup gently simmer for about 15 minutes or so, or until the broccoli is fork tender.

3. Transfer the soup to a blender (you may need to do this in batches) or using an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth. Add the buttermilk, dill, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste, and puree until everything is silky smooth and emulsified.

4. Refrigerate the soup for at least 2 hours, or until completely chilled. Serve cold with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serves 6

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  • 1
    Magda said:

    Jason Segel?? You must tell us more!

    Good luck with your book, we’ll be here when you’re done!

    This broccoli soup is my idea of heaven. Okay, I know that sounds weird but I’m kind of weird, and I happen to love broccoli more than any other person I know does.
    Thanks, Olga

    July 14, 2012 4:55 pm
  • 2

    Good lck with the writing, it will feel so good when it’s over!!

    July 15, 2012 9:50 am
  • 3
    Jessica said:

    “[TK link to chicken stock]”

    …glad to see I’m not the only one using that tip to avoid being sidetracked by looking for links mid-sentence. Also glad to see I’m not the only one forgetting to go back and check over afterward!

    (This is the second recipe for broccoli soup I’ve seen in about a week – and while I’m sure it’s delicious when chilled, I think the weather is quite cold enough for both of us here atm, and I’ll probably make it warm.)

    July 15, 2012 7:22 pm
  • 4
    Radish said:

    Jessica – thanks! Totally forgot to put the actual link in :) tells you where my head is. Fixed now.

    July 15, 2012 7:28 pm
  • 5

    Sounds wonderful… especially since it’s been so hot outside!

    July 15, 2012 8:17 pm
  • 6

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    July 16, 2012 2:35 am
  • 7
    emmycooks said:

    I loved this soup! I couldn’t wait for it to cool (and Seattle was cold today) so I had to eat the first bowl hot, and that was great as well.

    July 16, 2012 2:38 am
  • 8
    Iris said:

    I love chilled soups and make them frequently. But broccoli doesn’t seem to want to puree in my appliances (either blender or food processor) to the point where it’s “smooth.” There are ALWAYS pieces of it and it doesn’t look this terrific. Perhaps I need to process in smaller batches???????????????

    July 16, 2012 7:09 am
  • 9
    Radish said:

    Iris – great question. I know that smaller batches definitely help, yes. I use a Vitamix (which my husband and I were lucky to receive for our wedding) and it’s a workhorse. But I would think that smaller batches in other blenders should manage the job rather well. Also, in case there are still pesky bits floating around and you want your soup restaurant smoothness, you can always strain through a fine mesh strainer or a tamis.

    emmycooks – yes, the soup also works well worm! Didn’t even think of suggesting it, since we’ve been sweating like crazy for weeks now.

    July 16, 2012 7:13 am
  • 10

    I love broccoli soup! I don’t know why I haven’t tried it chilled yet though. I am definitely trying that next time.

    July 24, 2012 4:39 pm
  • 11
    Kim Spilker said:

    Made this soup tonight and it was delicious. Nothing I would change about it. We even ate it not all-the-way-chilled because we were hungry. We have some leftover for tomorrow. The fresh lemon and fresh dill made a big difference in taste.

    July 30, 2012 12:52 am
  • 12
    Alyson said:

    Love this. I added leeks to it but I bet it would just as good without. Totally agree about omitting garlic for a summer soup.

    August 15, 2012 1:47 pm
  • 13
    Bob said:

    It’s getting warm in Virginia, so this was the first chilled soup of the year. The buttermilk really made it. I would have used cream, but this was better and much more interesting. And I had no problem blending it nicely with an immersion blender. Thank you!

    April 17, 2013 11:35 pm
  • 14

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    July 22, 2013 7:29 am
  • 15
    ellen said:

    Yum! Was looking for a child broccoli soup and found this one; it’s delicious! I used about half of an onion (again, to heighten the broccoli flavor even more) and it was fine (not bland) that way. In any case–great recipe. Thanks!

    August 17, 2013 12:24 pm
  • 16
    olga said:

    ellen – so glad you liked the soup!

    August 18, 2013 6:57 am
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  • 19
    homepage said:

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks ffor providing this info.

    December 4, 2013 1:14 pm
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