Today is the winter solstice. The longest night of particularly dark year.
NPR did an unintentionally depressing story about sports in 2016 this morning that was meant to be uplifting. Once the comentator got past the Chicago Cubs, though, things went off the rails. Muhammad Ali (plus Pat Summitt, Arnold Palmer, Gordie Howe and Bud Collins) died, massive, state-sponsored doping by Russian Olympic athletes was uncovered, “It was an entire diabolical sporting nation, which has taken the art of winning world and Olympic medals while covering up the use of performance-enhancing drugs to a new high. Or is that a new low?” And Rio hosted the summer games which did little beyond increasing the country’s debt and spotlighting the corruption and incompetence of the IOC. Yeah, that’s one bright year for sports. Picked me right up.
This calls for, among other things, soup. There’ll be something served alongside the soup, but this is where I’m starting tonight.
This is about as simple as it gets and is an excellent platform for spice experientation.
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli Cut into florets, some stem can be included
- 1 large onion Diced, I'm using only Walla-Wallas, or Videlias of late
- 1 large carrot sliced thin
- 1 rib celery sliced thin
- 4 tbsp flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup Coconut cream You can substitute regular cream, almond or soy milk, or omit entirely.
- salt & pepper
Swirl some olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot of some sort over medium heat. Add broccoli, celery, onion, carrot, salt and pepper and saute until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, until the flour reaches a blonde color. Add stock and bring to boil.
Simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender, but not completely dead, about 15 minutes, but maybe less. Removed from heat and puree halfway with an immersion blender. Add the cream and puree until silky smooth. Adjust salt and pepper. Keep warm if serving later. Reheat carefully to avoid scorching.
I like using coconut cream and find for some reason I often have half a cup, or half a can, sitting in the refrigerator. I've tried lots of different savory herb additions (thyme, rosemary, herbes de province, Tuscan Sunset, roasted garlic) and everything seems to work just fine. Galangal adds an interesting dimension and goes well with the subtle coconut flavor if you're using coconut cream.