When I first thought about making this soup, I felt that the season and the veggies didn’t go together. Broccoli and cauliflower are usually part of a rich creamy soup that in Mama D’s Kitchen has bacon and cheese as mandatory ingredients. It creates a soup that is perfect for crisp autumn days and cold winter nights. I love how the smokey salty flavor of the bacon brings out something special in the vegetables. Full flavored cheese has the same magical powers. We are in the hea(r)t of summer and as delicious as those flavors are, they are just too heavy when the thermometer is tickling the 90’s.
The question then becomes, can there be a summer weight broccoli and cauliflower soup? Why yes, yes, there can, and if I do say so myself, it’s very tasty and there isn’t a bit of bacon or cheese, or even cream for that matter. This could fit into a Vegan meal or star in a Meatless Monday one. I think it is also gluten-free, so whatever your dietary restrictions you can enjoy this soup.
It starts with vegetable stock. I always have bags of it in the freezer for just this kind of occasion. Obviously there was broccoli and cauliflower along with some onion, carrots and garlic. To create a more interesting texture I chopped up half of the broccoli and cauliflower including the stems and ends and let them sweat it out with the onion, carrots and garlic. I reserved the rest of the veggies to cut into bite size florets. More about them later.
I added the stock to the now sweaty veggies and allowed everything to come to a boil. I added a big bunch of lemon thyme as well as the peel of a lemon to the pot. I left the thyme sprigs whole and tied them to the handle of the pot. The leaves fall off during the cooking process and the stems get untied and put into the compost bin. I used a peeler to remove just the yellow part of the lemon peel. I kept it in one long piece that was easy to remove at the end of the simmer. I may have left a little in the pot, but it would soon become one with the soup.
The immersion blender did its magic and my soup base, beautifully thick, was ready. Salt, pepper and a touch of Worcestershire and hot sauce gave it a little more dimension. What to do with the remaining broccoli and cauliflower? Summer and the grill go hand in hand so I popped my reserved veggies in a grill basket along with some sweet onion and a drizzle of olive oil.
I grilled them covered for maximum smokieness and in about 7 minutes they were ready to plunge into the soup base.
The resulting soup was a perfect marriage of a hearty main dish soup with the smokey flavor of tender crisp veggies from the grill. We didn’t miss the bacon or the cheese. What could I add? Some sliced green onions were perfect, but a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream for the non-vegans would be nice as well.
So another summertime soup is born. Give this a try. I think you’ll find the smokey taste delightful.