All the primary election news reminds me of the time President George Bush the Elder made a snide comment about a certain green vegetable that he did not — would not — eat. The resulting fluff in the media was nothing short of a scandal as I recall. The broccoli lobby and every broccoli farmer in America claimed insult.
Funny, why George didn’t like broccoli. It has quite a nice earthy green flavor, and my favorite use is steamed with salt and drizzled with melted butter (sorry, I haven’t quite got the hang of drizzling olive oil on everything). Broccoli, along with its cousins cauliflower and brussels sprouts, are all DNA derivatives of cabbage, I’m told, so it stands to reason if you like one of these vegetables, you might like them all. Not sure what George’s stance has been on the cousins to broccoli, but we defend his right to dislike it.
During the coming fall season, a lovely way to use fresh (or even leftover broccoli) is in Cream of Broccoli Soup. I use the whole stem and florets of the broccoli rather than trimming it down to just the broccoli crowns.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
1-1/2 pounds of broccoli
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup minced celery
2 teaspoons stick butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
To make Cream of Broccoli Soup, cook washed broccoli in salted water until a fork easily pierces the stem. Drain and cool. While broccoli cools, sauté the onion, carrot and celery in butter until onion is translucent. Add the flour to the vegetables and stir to make a roux. Set aside. Puree the cooked broccoli with a little water in a food processer until smooth.
Heat broth, the rest of the water, and evaporated milk until warm. Stir broccoli, onion, carrot and celery mixture into the heated broth. Add salt and pepper seasonings to taste, and cook until flour roux begins to thicken the soup (add a bit more flour if necessary). Heat Cream of Broccoli Soup again if necessary and serve with toasted cheese or ham sandwiches.
Believe it or not, I found this recipe for Cream of Broccoli Soup in one my grandmother’s old recipe card boxes. It was hand-printed on a well-worn recipe card. She used to make this soup during the first days of fall. The Cream of Broccoli Soup carries through well during winter, and even if you use frozen broccoli instead of fresh (or leftovers) it is a good result.