As part of my thirtieth birthday present, Cindy cleverly got me a stick-blender. Exciting isn't it? Maybe not immediately, but if you'd spent many hours exhausting your repertoire of creative curse-words trying to transfer hot soup between a huge saucepan and a small food processor, you'd appreciate the thoughtfulness. I'd dashed out of the country post-birthday without a chance to take it for a test-run, so for my first full day back in Melbourne I was all set to crank out some soup.
The recipe of choice: this, from Orangette. It's all relatively simple - a bit of chopping, a bit of frying, a bit of simmering and an awesome few moments of destruction with the stick blender. Good times. Luckily, it's also damn tasty. Between the stalks of the broccoli and the faux-chicken stock, it had a kind of meatiness to it, offset by the delicious herbed sour-cream and the parmesan hints left by the rind. A few pieces of bread on the side and we'd found the antidote to Melbourne's burst of winter.
Broccoli soup with lemon-chive cream
1 tbsp butter
2 leeks, washed and sliced (just the white parts)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
~1kg broccoli, chopped (include everything - stems and all)
~1l faux-chicken of vegetable stock
1 parmesan rind
1 cup sour cream
2 shallots (the long, green kind), sliced thinly
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
In a saucepan, melt the butter and then add the leeks and onion, cooking over medium heat for about ten minutes. Everything should get nice and transparent.
Add the garlic and stir through, cooking briefly, before throwing in the stock, broccoli, parmesan rind and salt. Stir everything together, bring to the boil and then simmer.
While things are simmering, make the cream. Basically just stir all the ingredients together and alter the amounts of salt/garlic/lemon juice to your tastes.
Once the soup has simmered for about twenty minutes, remove the parmesan rind and attack the soup with your powerful stick blender (or go through the whole rigmarole of batches in the food processor).
Add about half of your sour-cream mix to the soup and stir it through, using the rest of it as a garnish to dollop on top.