Unlike heavy, cream-based soups, this version of cream of broccoli gets its body and flavor from using all the edible parts of the vegetable. The result is a pure, bright broccoli flavor in a silky soup that’s perfect as a lighter spring dish.
1 tbsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1 cup finely diced white onion 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 bay leaf 1 head broccoli, separated into medium-size florets, stems cut into ¼-inch-thick slices 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 pinch red pepper flakes 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or water
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic, onion, fennel seeds, bay leaf, and broccoli stems and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.
Add the florets, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and enough stock or water to cover the vegetables by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the stems become tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and puree the soup in batches. Adjust the consistency as desired with stock or water.
For an optional garnish, reserve 1 cup of the florets and toss them with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, or until tender and crunchy.
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