Here in the Seattle area, we experienced quite the winter storm this week. The snowfall began on Tuesday, and over the course of three days, about 6 inches accumulated at our home. This amount of snow is more than I’ve witnessed in my six years of living in the region, though, based on what I’ve heard from friends who live nearby, we didn’t get the worst of it. Surrounding areas had upwards of a foot of snow and freezing rain on top of that. Many people have had to cope with the challenges of power outages and falling trees, and I am grateful that those things haven’t affected our family directly.
Six inches of dry snow in our relatively flat neighborhood hardly constitutes being snowed in, but there has been something alluring about staying inside, sipping hot chocolate, and only going out when absolutely necessary. Yesterday, we did break down and go purchase milk and other necessities, but for the most part, we’ve been trying to subsist on what we already have.
It’s times like these when a basic soup recipe can be a lifesaver, and it’s in this spirit that I’m sharing my version of Creamy Broccoli Soup. This dish is easy-peasy, and it’s is so versatile, you can use it for whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. Onions, carrots, celery, and garlic are staples that are great to keep stocked at all times since they provide a strong foundation for any on-the-fly meal. To this quartet of aromatics, I prefer to add broccoli, but sometimes I just empty out my produce drawer, using whatever is lying around. Check out the Tips and Tidbits section below for my variation suggestions.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely diced white or yellow onion
- 1 cup finely diced carrot
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups cold milk, divided
- 6 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli (florets and stems)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute the diced onion, carrot, and celery in the hot oil for 4 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and sauté about 4 minutes more.
- Stir in the chicken stock, 1 ¼ cups milk, chopped broccoli, salt, and pepper, and bring the soup mixture up to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 2 minutes. In a small bowl or cup, whisk together the corn starch and the remaining ¼ cup milk until no lumps remain. Add this mixture to the soup and simmer 2-3 minutes more until soup is thickened and the vegetables are tender but still bright in color.
- Remove the pot from the heat, stir in Greek yogurt, and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Tips and Tidbits
- Countless variations of this soup would be delicious, and the only limitation is one’s imagination (and, I suppose, the contents of your produce drawer). For example, some of the broccoli could be replaced with vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, potatoes, or corn. Cooked brown rice would make for a hearty addition, or you could toss in any leftover meat you have in your fridge.
- Plain Greek yogurt is a healthy way to enhance the richness and flavor of this dish, but there are lots of other options if you don’t have any in your fridge. Sour cream, crème fraiche, cream cheese – they all would work beautifully. Throw in some grated cheddar or parmesan cheese for even more creamy goodness.
- When possible, I like to stick with simple seasonings to allow the natural flavors of the vegetables to shine through; however, feel free to add additional herbs and spices to your liking. Rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, and/or bay leaves would complement this dish nicely.