If you lived in Yarmouth in the 90's, you may well remember Joshua's on Water Street. The building now houses the Yarmouth Pub (where I still haven't been) but back when I was in high school, there was a little coffee shop there that served sandwiches and soups. Incidentally, I believe it was named after Joshua Slocum. My high school was within a 10 minute walk, so often on school days, a bunch of us would scurry down for lunch, hoping to get a table first, and if it was available, I ordered their cream of broccoli soup. It was perfect. Especially so when it happened to be freezing outside, and because I was a stubborn girl in high school, I was almost never dressed for the weather.
For the past 15 years or so I have been learning to make everything under the sun from scratch, but for some reason, I think I've only ever tried making cream of broccoli once or twice. It just didn't turn out as deliciously as I knew it should, and the only thing worse than no cream of broccoli soup is cream of broccoli soup that doesn't satisfy the craving for it.
Well, I have good news to report. Last night, in a hurried dig through the freezer to see what I could rustle up for supper, I found a bag of frozen broccoli. I read through a few recipes, took this thing and that thing and came up with one to try, managed to remember to write it down, and here it is. I am happy to report that it is PERFECT. It is creamy, but not too thick and heavy - and very pleasantly broccoli-ish. Perfect for this time of year!
Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 large onion, or 2 small ones, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tbsp butter
1 bag frozen broccoli (you could also use a head of fresh)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken Better than Boullion because that's what I had on hand)
2 cups milk
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
pepper to taste
Sautée onion, celery, and carrot in butter until softened, 5 or 6 minutes. Add broth and broccoli, and simmer 10 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked through. Very carefully whiz the soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender right in the pot. I prefer leaving some chunks intact. In a separate pot, melt 3 tbsp butter and whisk in flour and pepper until it thickens and comes together. Slowly whisk in the milk, and heat through. Add milk mixture to broccoli blend, stir, and season to taste. Enjoy! It's even better the next day.
*I made this with all of the flour and dairy called for, but there are some substitutions I imagine would work (but I can't vouch for them). For gluten free, I would add a cubed potato for some thickness, or you could still do the roux at the end but use tapioca or another starch. You could try to replace the milk with coconut or unsweetened nut milk, but I can't promise that it will taste as amazing. But please report back if you try!*