Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Broccoli-stem and celery soup

If you look at the head of broccoli above you'll see about a third of it is stalk. A third, I have to confess, that I used to throw away.

Since writing the book I know better. There had to be some better use for it - and there is. It makes really good soup, along with whatever other vegetables you might have available.

You might think this is so blindingly obvious as to be laughable and always use your broccoli stalks that way but, as I said, I used to be less frugal than I am now.

You need to trim it up a bit with a sharp knife or a potato peeler then cut it into small chunks and add it once you've sweated off your other vegetables. I used onion, celery and potato in roughly the proportions of the Sad Unloved Vegetable Soup here. Then just cook the vegetables in stock until they're tender.

At the end I stirred in some chopped celery leaves (forgot to mention I set those aside too) and topped the soup with some fine slices of sheeps' cheese I had left over. (This is my new favourite way of adding cheese to soup. It melts into long gooey strands that remain distinct from the vegetables rather than turning into a monotonous cheesy gloop.)

If you call it broccoli-stem (rather than broccoli-stalk) soup people will think it's some very cool recipe that Nigella has invented.

And the rest of the broccoli? I cooked it as I often do which is to cut up the florets and stir fry them, adding about a tablespoon of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of water and a little crushed garlic towards the end. Good hot, but oddly even better lukewarm or cold.


ramtops said...

Hah! We had stir fried broccoli. I do mine a bit different to yours - I steam the broccoli first - but I do use the stalk.

Here's my recipe.

Fiona Beckett said...

Hi Ramtops - thanks for that. I do sometimes steam broccoli too, then toss it in some olive oil I've warmed through with some finely sliced garlic and chilli flakes. Don't like it boiled though.

Sarah said...

I always peel and slice the stalk and add it to stir fries etc. My kids would eat the stalk even when they wouldn't eat the 'edible' part. It is less bitter I guess.
It is also good raw, cut in matchsticks and tossed on green salad. Or made into slaw. Too bad you have been chucking it out!
Is your book going to be available in Canada?

Fiona Beckett said...

I know, I know. I shouldn't have done it, Sarah ;-) But great ideas. I particularly like the idea of using it in a stir-fry. It does have a particularly sweet flavour.

Not sure if the book will be coming out out in Canada but you could always get it through Amazon, I guess.

lilymarlene said...

I used to eat the stalks raw whilst preparing the veg for dinner.Then I started adding the cut up stalks to the steaming florets. Some of the family actually prefer the stalks and there is always a fight as to who should have them.....no fights about the florets though!

Anonymous said...

I have been blanching the stalks, then cutting 1/4" thick and dehydrating. I plan to powder the dehydrated pieces and then making a cream of broccoli soup with them.