Homemade Roasted Broccoli Soup, Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread, comfort food in unsettling times.
It has been a difficult week for all of us here in the United States, and with so much still unresolved, the unease continues. Yesterday, after a restless night that followed a restless day of anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, and frustration, I decided I needed to immerse myself in my kitchen, turn away from the news for a while, and just cook. It always helps. I might not be able to control what is going on in Washington, but I can make something delicious to eat.
I baked bread. I made soup.
The aroma of yeast, a little Mozart
I also put on some lovely music, and was delighted to get some pretty pink roses from my husband. It all helped. There is nothing better than the intoxicating aroma of bread baking, the house filled with the smells of yeast, then later, roasting vegetables added their own deliciousness. My home, a shelter from many things these days.
It’s a good weekend project. Bake some bread, any kind you like. If you don’t have sourdough or are not experienced with yeast breads, bake a quick bread like banana or oatmeal. It’s all good. I made a sourdough whole wheat bread because my starter needed to be fed. I kneaded it by hand; it just made me feel better to do so. I didn’t stop there! I put together a batch of whole-wheat pizza crust and let it ferment in the refrigerator overnight. I’ll divide it into balls to store in the freezer for future meals. The extra kneading did me good.
A soup of comfort
A rather large head of broccoli sat in my refrigerator, so it was a quick decision to turn it into soup for supper. With the addition of a few other veggies I had on hand, a quick trimming of those vegetables to make a little stock, and in no time I had a lovely soup simmering, one that is also vegan, gluten, nut, and dairy free. It’s just over 100 calories a cup, and packed with nutrition.
Yes, I’ll keep checking the news, and hope that people in power will do the right thing. This weekend, I think I’ll dream up something else special to make and eat.
Roasted Broccoli Soup
8 cups or 4 hearty servings
- 1 or 2 heads of broccoli, about 1 ½ pounds
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 large carrot
- 2 ribs celery
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp. crushed anise seed
- ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 star anise
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 can light coconut milk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Prep the vegetables and make vegetable stock from all scraps. Peel the broccoli and chop it into florets, including the stem. Add the peelings and tough stem bottom to the stock pot.
Peel and chop the carrot, dice the onion, peel and chop the celery, and add any peelings, skins, and leaves to the pot. Crush and finely mince the garlic, and place toss those in the pot as well. It’s a pretty easy routine. Fill the pot with water (you are going to want to end up with a quart), the bay leaves, a little salt and pepper, and star anise, bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer for about a half hour.
In the meantime, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a sheet pan and add the broccoli and mushrooms, pushing the stems to one side. Drizzle with a bit more oil, season, and roast for 15 minutes, flip, and continue roasting until slightly charred and cooked through.
While the stock is simmering and the broccoli roasting, heat a soup pot over medium high and add the last tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until the vegetables have softened but not browned. Stir in the garlic, anise seed, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Cook another minute or so and set aside until the broccoli is ready.
Once the broccoli is cooked, reserve the mushrooms and two cups of the florets. Add the rest of the broccoli florets and stems to the soup pot. Strain the vegetable stock and add that to the soup pot. Bring this to a simmer and cook an additional 10 minutes or so, then using an immersion hand blender (easiest) or regular blender or food processor, blend until nearly smooth. This will thicken the soup to a creamy consistency. Stir in the coconut milk and reserved florets and mushrooms. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with some crusty bread, put on some lovely music, and enjoy your home!
Some breads to consider:
Clockwise from upper left:
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