It’s definitely soup season here in Ontario, as winter has stopped lallygagging and arrived with a spirited show of cold temperatures and snow. And you know what? I don’t mind at all! After all, it is January, and I’d rather look out at a snowy landscape than unrelieved brown and grey.
Inside, it’s warm and fragrant, with the soup kettle bubbling on the stove. This is the time to be making double batches and stowing soup in the freezer. I put it up in single portion containers for me and any of the Offspring who want some for their lunch, and in larger amounts so I’m always prepared when company stops by.
This curried cream of broccoli soup is an old standard around here. I’ve been making it for 30 years, ever since I first found the recipe in Jane Brody’s Good Food Book: Living the High-Carbohydrate Way. It was published in 1985, and doesn’t that subtitle tell you a lot about how food thinking and fads have changed over the years? When’s the last time you heard anyone advocating a high-carbohydrate lifestyle? Nonetheless, there are many excellent recipes in the book, including many for soup.
I’ve served this soup countless times, sometimes as the main course and sometimes as a starter, whether for special occasions like family visiting from Belgium or just simple, everyday meals. It’s one of my daughter Jenn’s favourites, and with her maternity leave ending soon I plan to give her some to ease her return to work.
Although these days I like to make my own curries, this is one of the few recipes for which I use a packaged curry powder spice blend. Its mild flavour, delicately lingering in the background, complements the broccoli nicely. Besides, why mess with a good thing? We like this soup just as it is.
Not only does it taste good, but just look at how pretty it is: pale green creaminess, offset by speckles of vibrant darker green … you just know it’s good for you too.
Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup
Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup
You know that I’m sure to have tweaked any recipe I’ve been making for 30 years, yet the version I make today from memory is surprisingly true to the original version in Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. That’s the sign of a true classic recipe! While the ingredient list is almost the same as the original, the directions are in my own words.
- 1 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, depending on your preference
- 1 largish baking or Yukon Gold potato, cut into small cubes
- 1 bunch broccoli (about a pound, although I never weigh mine)
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- a pinch or two of salt, to suit your taste
- 1 cup milk*
*I normally use 2 percent dairy milk; if you wish to use almond milk, make sure it’s not sweetened or flavoured — if you can, make your own with just almonds and water).
Start by prepping all the vegetables: onion, garlic, potatoes and broccoli. Cut off the broccoli florets, then peel the stalks and cut those into slices (nothing goes to waste here!). Heat the oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven, then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring from time to time, until translucent. Stir in the curry powder and pepper, and cook for a few minutes to develop the curry flavour. Tumble in the potato cubes, give them a good stir and then add the broccoli. Pour in the stock and water and mix everything together well.
Cover the pot, bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes, at which point the broccoli and potatoes should be soft. Now’s the time to whip out your trusty immersion blender; process the soup until it’s velvety smooth. Taste, and add salt if needed, and more pepper if you’d like more heat. Stir in the milk to up the lusciousness factor and serve.