Broccoli Soup

Growing up, Wednesday was Cream of Broccoli Soup Day at the local Giant food store. I loved the huge chunks of broccoli swimming in milky, cheesy broth. Now, anything with that much dairy would subject both of us to a killer night of cramping and indigestion. And while you'd think that would turn me off the stuff, I sometimes can't help but crave that salty, creamy bowl of deliciousness. Yesterday was one of those days, and I wondered whether it was possible to recreate the smoothness of a real cream-based broccoli soup without actually adding dairy. Alex convinced me that we could, and we came up with a great recipe that satiated my craving and caused zero sickness! In fact, it's super healthy.

There are millions of recipes for broccoli soup, and we probably read a good number of them yesterday. I once heard that Gordon Ramsay makes his by simply pureeing broccoli with the water in which he cooked it, and then seasoning and serving it just like that. But we wanted to acheive the creaminess of my favorite grocery store version, so we decided to add some potatos for a thicker consistency. From there, we brought in leeks and carrots for a more complex flavor, and mustard seeds and lemon to lighten it up with a touch of tang. We added a dollop of fat-free sour cream for garnish, but you could also likely stir some into the soup just before serving.

1 1/2 lb. broccoli, cut into florets
1 carrot, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
4 small potatos, cut into chunks
1 cup onion
5 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups broth and 1 cup water)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp mustard seed
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add onions, potatos, leeks, carrots and mustard seed, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the broccoli and the broth, and simmer for about 20 minutes. By this time, the vegetables should be cooked. Working in batches if necessary, blend the mixture (in a blender) until smooth. Add the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream or parmesean cheese if you like, and serve.