Broccoli Soup

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This is such a simple soup, consisting of a few ingredients, and is a perfect example of how good some straightforward things can be. You could really make it with your eyes closed. Adults should add a generous grinding of black pepper to this — which is what I believe makes the soup — and sometimes my kids ask for a tiny twist of pepper over theirs. I like to serve this as a first course for them, followed by a plate of cheese and their favourite buttered bread. Make sure your broccoli is deep chlorophyl-green in its headress and hasn’t been sitting for days in your fridge getting paler and paler. My children like to see a deep green soup with cream swirls in it and are upset if I forget and stir in all the cream. So do it like this — just make sure you take the cream out of the fridge well beforehand so you don’t ice the soup up with your swirl.

Ingredients

  • about 500 g(1 lb2 oz) broccoli, cut into large pieces
  • 2 potatoes (about 350 g/12 oz), peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 200 ml(7 fl oz) pouring (single) cream

Method

Save a handful of the florets and put the rest in a large saucepan with the potatoes and onion. Add 1.75 litres (61 fl oz/7 cups) of cold water, season with one or two teaspoons of salt and bring to the boil. Skim the surface if necessary. Lower the heat slightly and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes. Add the other handful of florets 10 minutes before the end of this time. You should be able to squash the broccoli easily on the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Purée all this with a blender until it is completely smooth (and hope that you didn’t get a woody broccoli to start with). It should be thick, but if you find it too thick then you can add some hot water. If it is too thin then carry on cooking it uncovered for a while to reduce the liquid. Add salt until you can really taste the depth of the broccoli. Swirl in half the cream and heat through. Serve immediately, with another swirl of cream through each portion and a good grinding of pepper for those who like it.