Don’t Throw Out Your Broccoli Stems! Delicious Broccoli Potato Soup

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Creamy, delicious and packed with flavor, this soup puts to tasty use something people tend to throw out – broccoli stems! 

In our kitchen, we try to get the most out of everything. We roast whole chickens and crack the bones for chicken stock. The fish we catch get picked clean to the bones. The vegetable odds and ends a lot of cooking show hosts scrape off cutting boards into into the trash end up in soups and other dishes. Having read that banana peels are edible, we gave them a go last summer. (Edible, perhaps; palatable, not.) For some reason, I grew up thinking that the only part of broccoli that people are supposed to eat are the florets. When I began to cook as an adult, a friend introduced me to a recipe with stir-fried broccoli stems. Delicious. Even before we met, Jack had been combining stems, garlic and chicken stock to make a tasty, nutritious soup as well as slicing the stems thin and adding them to stir-fries.

With a sunny high of 5° F here in Ulaanbaatar, this day called for a hot bowl of homemade soup. The tough outer layer of the broccoli stems do have to be peeled away, but it’s worth the effort. (I use a vegetable peeler for this.) Once you’ve removed this fibrous outer layer, you’re left with a tender, flavorful vegetable that can be sautéed and added to pasta dishes or puréed and served in soup, as is the case here.

Broccoli Stem Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped potatoes
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped broccoli stems
  • generous pinch dried thyme
  • generous pinch salt
  • 4 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • toppings – Cholula hot sauce, parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Sauté onions for a couple of minutes until they begin to be translucent.
  2. Add garlic to onions and continue to sauté for a couple of more minutes.
  3. Add potatoes, broccoli, thyme, salt, and broth.
  4. Bring mixture to a simmer. Continue to simmer until broccoli and potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Purée soup with a stick blender, or in batches in a regular blender.
  6. Serve hot topped with splashes of Cholula hot sauce and some shavings of parmesan cheese.