Regular readers would know that I don’t like to waste food and am the master of re-purposing and up-cycling leftovers and food scraps. Whilst I hold back many of our veggie scraps to boost the flavour of home made stock, broccoli stalks don’t make it in. Regular readers would also know I’m not a fan of the Brassica.
Brassicas are from a very wide family of plants but include many of the vegetables I can’t abide including kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. I like to tell people that Brussels sprouts is Flemish for ‘yeuch’. Just to be perverse, I enjoy gai lan, which is from the same family.
Waste Not Want Not
Whilst I don’t enjoy broccoli, Anthony loves it. His idea of a great vegetable side is half a head of steamed broccoli. No dressing, no garnishes, just as is. We have broccoli almost every night with our meal. He has a bucketful whilst I begrudgingly force down a few florets. As a result, we have lots of thick and sometimes a little tough broccoli stalks that don’t make it onto the dinner plates. Because I don’t reserve them for stock, I wanted to use them in another form, rather than just feeding them to the worm farm.
Somewhere along the way I realised that I could chop the stalks into chunks and freeze them so we had enough, I could make a broccoli soup. It’s so quick and easy. You chop the stalks before you freeze and cook them from frozen. There is no reason you can’t fry an onion before you add the stalks and stock. Similarly, you could fry a spice mix before adding the stalks. Cream instead of milk adds a level of luxury to this otherwise thrifty dish. It’s all about a basic recipe that you can adapt to your own tastes. There is now always a bag of frozen stalks on the go in our house. Very occasionally, some cauliflower stalks may make their way into the bag but these days, cauliflower costs nearly as much as truffles so it’s not a regular in our market basket. In the past few weeks, I’ve also chopped and frozen some excess silverbeet (Swiss chard) stalks. For the most part though, it’s just broccoli stalks. The resulting soup is an attractive pale green which will brighten the even the greyest day.
Broccoli Soup For Skeptics
- 5 cups frozen, chopped broccoli stalks
- 2 cups water + 1 teaspoon stock powder or 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup milk
- Seasoning to taste
- Accompaniments such as yoghurt, sour cream, bacon, pepitas, croutons
- Place frozen broccoli in a medium to large saucepan and add water or stock until it barely covers the stalks. There is plenty of moisture in the frozen stalks and steam will be generated so you may not need all of the liquid.
- Cover, bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer to allow the broccoli to cook through. This takes around 20 minutes as you are cooking from frozen. The broccoli is ready when it can be easily pierced by a fork.
- Turn heat off, remove lid and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Add the milk to the saucepan and then puree with a stick blender or place in an upright blender (be careful as the liquid will be hot). An upright blender makes it smoother but I like the soup to be a little thick and chunky so use the stick blender instead.
- Taste the soup and add seasoning as necessary – remember that there is some salt in the stock. Give another wizz to incorporate seasoning.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with accompaniments as desired
Serves – 4 generous bowls
When I write about food waste, I like to share the articles and resources that have influenced me. I find many of these via social media or rather, they seem to find me. Here’s a link an infographic about food waste. It tells you everything you need to know and will provide further encouragement to make this broccoli stalk soup, even if you can’t stand broccoli. Australian Food Waste Facts.