First things first: don’t let the whole vegan thing make you wince. I am a self-identified cheese-oholic. I go through my phases of cramming as much of a cheese block into my face in one day as physically possible, and phases during which I want to keep it light and thoroughly healthy. Because cheese is not the greatest thing for the internal balance of things. I love the feeling of a healthy, thoroughly satisfying meal that makes me feel nourished and energized. Alas, a delicious wintery soup that won’t make you suffer despite it’s healthful veganness.
Keep in mind I am much like an insane person while cooking. This means that measurements go by the wayside and by the end of it all there are ingredients both all over me and all over my kitchen. Therefore, measurements are estimated to say the least.
This recipe will feed about six people.
6 quarts flavorful broth (more on what this means below)
8 full heads of broccoli
1 1/2 onions (I prefer white onions for a little sweetness but any will do)
4 cloves garlic
1 package or can coconut cream
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted almonds
a few leaves of sage, toasted in olive oil until crispy
More about what might comprise a flavorful broth. I like to use a one to one combo of water and stock, either chicken stock of vegetable broth will be delicious in this recipe depending on your dietary preferences. More on making stock at home later. Using home made does have some nutritional advantages and some peace of mind (assuming you remember exactly what you threw in) For now, use what you have, store bought or home made in equal parts with water.
Roughly chop onions, broccoli, garlic and add to broth along with seasoning. Don’t make it pretty, this soup will end up a glorious puree of stuff.
Simmer over medium heat until the broccoli is very tender. Tamar Adler of the incredible and inspiring, “An Everlasting Meal,” notes that no one is patient enough with their vegetables. The sweet richness that eventually arises from them is a totally different experience when given a little extra time to fully bloom.
Once soft and seasoned to taste, blend of puree by any means necessary. If you don’t have one already, invest in an immersion blender. Any soup queen surely relies on one as they’re so easy to clean and to use, though a blender or carefully utilized food processor will do.
Reduce the soup by about 1/4. In realistic terms, reduce until there is about a half an inch worth of ringed soup broth lines on the edge of your pot.
Now is the time to get as fancy or not fancy as you please. Toast up some sage leaves in a pan with olive oil to give a burst of rich flavor that compliments all the components. If you have almonds, toast them to release their flavor and add a crunchy component. Heat a nice golden tortilla or rip of a chunk of crusty bread to dip, or just eat it plain jane. For me, nothing beats s crispy bite of sage and a dipped tortilla straight from my husband’s family in Juarez.
Tonight, I am rejuvenating my leftover soup by softening about another half an onion in a whole lot of olive oil with salt and pepper and eating it more like a dip. As for the broccoli stems, peel them and cut them into disks and then either roast them in the oven or give them a nice sauté and eat them over some rice with soy sauce.