I use my food processor often. Most of the time it’s for pureeing purposes, but I also grate carrots, beets, or even cheese with it on occasion. One thing I don’t often use it for is chopping. After all, I have a knife (more than one, in fact), a cutting board or two, and hands.
Well, sometimes the food processor can do a much better job than my knife-cutting-board-hand combo. Namely when I want to chop vegetables super teeny tiny. For this recipe that I created today, a food processor will be your best friend. I promise you.
Normally when I make a vegetable soup, if the food processor is involved it is after the vegetables have cooked and softened. Today I decided to change it up. I pulsed the onions and broccoli (separately – see the recipe below) into super tiny pieces, not quite pureeing them but making them the texture of a coarse pesto. And then I cooked them. The result was a really fresh broccoli flavor. I didn’t have to cook the broccoli into oblivion in order to make it soft so I could puree it. Instead I could keep it crunchy and exciting.
You know broccoli is good for you. I don’t need to remind you of that. What you might not know is that you can make a soup with it that is not mundane in the least. To elevate things even further than this food processor technique I discussed already, how about turning it into a gratin? Let’s get a little French onion soupy, shall we? And since broccoli and cheddar go together like Siskel and Ebert, why not melt some cheddar on top of a giant whole wheat crouton under our broiler?
This recipe is a great one for using kitchen appliances, isn’t it? Of course you can feel free to chop by hand if you don’t want to mess up your food processor, but don’t come crying to me if your hands hurt afterwards.
Fresh Broccoli Soup Gratin (serves 3)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into a few large chunks
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and cut into quarters
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
1. Put the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. While it warms up, pulse the onion quarters in the food processor until very finely chopped. You don’t want to liquefy them, just get them to a tiny dice. Do it with a knife if you prefer. Add the onion to the hot olive oil along with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
2. While the onion is cooking, return the food processor bowl to its base. Put the broccoli chunks in the processor and pulse until very finely chopped, so that it is the texture of a coarse pesto. You should still be able to tell that it’s broccoli; don’t puree it. Add the broccoli to the soup pot.
3. Season the onion-broccoli mixture with the Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and another pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until everything is warmed through and starting to smell fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and raise the heat to medium. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook for about 5 more minutes.
4. Preheat the broiler. Place individual (oven-proof) soup bowls on a baking sheet. Divide the soup among the bowls, and top each one with the quarters of toast (each bowl gets one whole piece of toast) so they overlap slightly. Top each one with 1/3 of the cheese.
5. Put the soup under the broiler just until the cheese is melted and browned, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.