The snow keeps falling in steady flurries as I am casually eating my soup at the dining room table. We’ve had almost four seasons in one day, which does not surprise anyone living in New England. I look at the clock staring in my direction to realize that it is not even noon, but I am already starving. This always happens when I get up early, despite the substantial breakfast I have every morning. I am craving lunch and welcome a few tartines with a bowl of warm homemade vegetable soup.
Mine is made of a head of yellow broccoflower cooked with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, parsnip, a potato and fresh herbs. The dish is easy to make, nothing fancy but rather the type of food you toss together quickly to use leftover vegetables when you decide to clean the fridge. The broccoflower is initially intended for another cooking project, but I do not have the time to get to it; making a soup becomes a great choice. I decide to make a few tartines to go with it: a few slices of my favorite bread topped with goat cheese — Coeur du Berry — thin pieces of Alaskan smoked salmon, steamed peels of zucchini and thin slices of pink radish. A few leaves of fresh Thai basil and gomasio complete my quick-to-make tartines.
You can find two types of broccoflower: orange-yellow or lime green. As suggested by its interesting name, this vegetable is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, with a taste close to both. I particularly like broccoflower because of its eye-catching color, and have enjoyed preparing it a lot this winter. When it is steamed, I eat it topped with fresh herbs, a dash of fleur de sel and olive oil — a really healthy snack — or I also like to combine it with other greens in a stir-fry, to accompany a simple bowl of whole grain rice. Simple and delicious.
In a soup, it tastes equally satisfying. It reveals creaminess under a subtle taste of the combined vegetables and spices I add, with a warming yellow color to cheer anyone up. When I look inside my bowl from which steam escapes in curving lines, I get lost in my thoughts and dream that I am actually catching a glimpse of Spring lurking at the corner, as it is ready to come out.
“What is in the soup?” P. asks me when I pack a tupperware full for him to have for lunch.
“Let me know what you think later once you’ve tried it.”
Like me, he likes the addition of lemongrass. I have a stick in the fridge, along with a bunch of Thai basil and ginger left from an Asian shrimp coconut soup made a few days before: together, they give a somewhat Asian flavor to the dish, which seduce us both.
The large pot I prepare is enough for our lunch, and leaves me with plenty for another meal too. Isn’t this one of the joys about preparing soup? Make it in big quantity to eat over the course of the week when life is simply too busy; it keeps you warm and cozy inside during the coldest spells of winter.
The soup tastes even better reheated the next day.
With a few tartines.
And of course, a different topping each time.
- 1 broccoflower head (yellow), washed and cut in pieces
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
- 1 stick lemongrass, cut in small pieces
- 2 Tbsp Thai basil
- 1 Tbsp coriander, chopped
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 shallot (or 2 spring onions)
- 4 cups of homemade vegetable broth (or water)
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- Salt and pepper
- Crème fraîche to serve (optional)
- 1 zucchini (for the peels, optional)
- Cut and discard the outer part of the lemongrass, and slice the stick.
- Take a large cocotte and heat 2 Tbsp oil.
- Add the ginger, lemongrass, garlic and shallot and cook for 1 to 2 min on low heat until fragrant.
- Add the vegetables and cook for 5 min.
- Add the stock (or water) and the coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 min. Then add half of the basil and let rest for 2 min before mixing the soup in a blender.
- Serve with the rest of the basil, zucchini strips steamed for 2 min, and a dollop of crème fraîche. Accompany with your favorite tartines.
- 1 tête de brocofleur jaune, lavée et coupée en gros cubes
- 1 grosse pomme de terre, peleée et coupée en gros cubes
- 1 panais, pelé et coupé en gros cubes
- 1 bâton de citronnelle, coupé en rondelles fines
- 2 càs de basilic Thai
- 1 càs de coriandre, hachée
- 1 càc de racine de gingembre râpée
- 2 gousses d’ail
- 1 échalote (ou 2 oignons tiges)
- 1 litre de bouillon de légumes maison (ou eau)
- 2 càs d’huile végétale
- Sel et poivre
- Crème fraîche pour servir (facultatif)
- 1 courgette (coupée en lanières, facultatif)
- Enlevez l’enveloppe la plus dure de la citronnelle et coupez le reste en rondelles.
- Prenez une grosse cocotte et chauffez 2 càs d’huile.
- Ajoutez le gingembre, la citronnelle, l’ail et l’échalote et faites revenir pendant 1 à 2 min sur feux doux pour que les arômes se développent.
- Ajoutez tous les légumes et faites-les suer pendant 5 min.
- Ajoutez le bouillon (ou l’eau) et la coriandre. Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre. Couvrez et faites mijoter pendant environ 20 min, jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient tendres. Arrêtez le feu et ajoutez la moitié du basilic. Apres 2 min, mixez votre soupe.
- Servez-la chaude avec le reste du basilic, des lanières de courgette cuites à la vapeur pendant 2 min et de la crème fraîche. Accompagnez de tartines préférées.