Buddy doesn’t like cream of broccoli soup. You would think after being together for almost 15 years, I would know that! Since I had never made cream of broccoli soup before, it just never came up. Well, for weeks and weeks during the winter we were getting parsnips in our produce bag from Basis Foods. Now, I like parsnips, but a girl can only eat so many, so they started piling up in our fridge. Finally we have started getting local spring produce, and one week we got a couple stalks of broccoli. So, in my blissful ignorance, I decided to pair some end of the season parsnips with some first of the season broccoli to make a soup. That is when to my surprise, Buddy revealed to me his distaste for cream of broccoli soup, and to his surprise, that he really liked the parsnip and broccoli soup – enough to have a second helping.
I think your typical cream of broccoli soup is made with broccoli, perhaps some aromatics like onion and garlic and a stock thickened with cream. At it’s worst, cream of broccoli soup is runny, the pureed broccoli is really grainy, and the cream separates from the soup. This soup is different. It’s more like a potato leek soup in which the potato is replaced with parsnip, and the leek with broccoli. The pureed parsnip adds sweetness and body to the soup. It acts as a thickener, making the soup really velvety, so you don’t need so much cream. This soup is also very quick and easy to make.
Creamy Broccoli & Parsnip Soup
INGREDIENTS, makes about 6 cups:
2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 c. dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2 large parsnips (or 4-5 small ones) peeled and sliced about 1/4″ thick
3 c. chicken stock
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, tied with a piece of twine
2 medium stalks of broccoli (or 1 if it’s very large), chopped
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. cream
1. In a 3 quart saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the wine and simmer until it has reduced by about half.
2. Add the parsnip, chicken stock, thyme and a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the parsnip is almost cooked through.
3. Add the broccoli and return the soup to a boil. Simmer until the broccoli is soft but still green.
4. Remove the bundle of thyme. Using a blender or stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add cream to taste and reheat. Do not let the soup boil or the cream will curdle. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.