As 2016 arrived, my husband and I rang in the new year with good friends here in Pairs where I cooked a meal in the tiny but efficient kitchen of our apartment rental. Of course, since I’ve spent the entire last year working on Soup Nights (to be published this fall) I included a soup in the menu, and chose a long time favorite.
Broccoli soup with Curried Crème Fraiche is so versatile that you can serve it any season of the year. It’s a snap to assemble, takes only 15 minutes to simmer atop the stove, and is light yet totally satisfying. I buy packaged broccoli florets (a big time saver), sauté them with chopped leeks, and then simmer them in chicken broth until tender. The vegetables are then pureed and seasoned with a hint of cayenne pepper. However, it’s the crème fraîche scented with curry powder that is the secret to this dish’s vibrant flavor. The cream is swirled into the puréed mixture and also used as a garnish.
Serve the soup with a salad (I like to toss red leaf lettuce and chopped Belgian endive in a lemon dressing), offer it with a grilled cheese sandwich, or try it with an omelet for an easy winter lunch or supper.
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Broccoli Soup with Curried Crème Fraîche
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks (2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only)
1 russet potato (about 12 oz), peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
1 lb broccoli florets (see note.)
6 cups chicken broth
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup crème fraîche (see note.)
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 tbsp chopped chives or flat leaf parsley
1. In a large heavy pot (with a lid), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the potato and broccoli florets and sauté, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes and broccoli are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Purée the soup in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return the soup to the pot. Or, use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.
2. Mix together crème fraîche and curry powder. Whisk half of the mixture into the soup until well blended. Taste the soup and season with more salt, and additional cayenne pepper (for a spicier taste) if needed. (Soup can be prepared one day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.)
3. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of the remaining crème fraîche and some chopped parsley. Serves 6
Using broccoli florets is a big time saver; they are available packaged in most supermarkets in the produce section. You can also use broccoli crowns. Use 1/4 pounds, and cut off the florets from the stems. Save the stems for another use.
If you can’t find crème fraîche in your supermarket you can make it easily. Whisk 1 cup heavy or whipping cream and 1/3 cup sour cream together in a medium non-reactive bowl. Let stand at room temperature until thickened, 6 hours or longer. Cover and refrigerate. (Crème fraîche can be stored up to 1 week, covered, in the refrigerator.) Makes about 1 1/3 cups.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2016