It was the end of a very long, and emotionally exhausting week, and the thought of just staying home and making dinner was a pleasure. But what to make?
I didn’t feel like going to the store. It was getting cold outside. I knew my supplies were getting low, just some bits of things here and there. Here’s how the dialog goes in my head at these moments. Sound familiar?
“Got some of that great chicken stock left in the freezer, so some soup, perhaps? What’s left from the CSA and other dishes this week…hmmm, 2 smallish heads of broccoli. Okay, that would only make a very thin broccoli soup…oh, got cheddar, but it would take a lot of cheese and I want this to be healthy. Let’s see….carrots, celery, onion, thyme, a lemon…sounds good so far…a few cloves of garlic…oh, and a box of baby spinach…and some unopened buttermilk…interesting. Let’s see what I can stir up with this.” So of course I then run to the internet, find a soup recipe that sounds inspiring and go for it, with some add-ins and embellishments.
The result? A Lean, Mean and Green Soup. It was delightful… fresh and healthy, but still very rich tasting and flavorful with all of the veggies shining through. And best of all, comforting. And the color…oh my, St. Patrick’s Day, here we come! I wish I’d made a double batch, but I’ll keep that in mind for next time.
The recipe below was adapted from Michael Chiarello’s Very Green Broccoli Soup, and you can find his original recipe by clicking right here. We still got our cheese fix by grating a little extra sharp cheddar and making cheese toast under the broiler to go along with. Yum!
Lean, Mean and Green Broccoli Spinach Soup
Makes 4-6 servings
3/4 lb. fresh broccoli
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
2 carrots, peeled and diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or low sodium
5 oz. baby spinach
2 teaspoons lemon zest, or the zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk, divided
Cut all the broccoli florets from the stems and stalk and set aside. Peel the tough outer skin of the stalk with a vegetable peeler and trim off the fibrous ends. Cut the stems lengthwise into about 1/2 inch slices, then cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a small stock pot over medium heat and add the garlic. Saute until the garlic begins to lightly brown, then add the onion, celery and carrot. Add a pinch of salt and some pepper, and cook the vegetables until tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme leaves and stir, then add the broccoli stems, the stock and a bit more salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, and half of the buttermilk, and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the broccoli florets and the stems are nice and tender, but not mealy.
Remove the pot from the heat and puree, using a stick blender and adding half the spinach, half the zest and half the nutmeg in two batches, pureeing in between. When the soup is smooth, return it to low heat, add the remaining buttermilk, stir and bring it just to a gentle simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with a small dollop of yogurt and a little fresh thyme if desired.
March is #greenslove month! Check out the blog hop and join in the fun by following this link back to Linda at Savoring Every Bite, to see more great recipes featuring greens and to follow on twitter!