As much as I enjoy tenderstem and purple sprouting broccoli, I find the average – usually plastic encased – variety often a bit of a let down. Perhaps this feeling is a hangover from those over-steamed florets of anaemic broccoli popped on the side of your plate as a child, never to be eaten. Things needn’t be this way; it doesn’t matter what state you find your brassicas in, simply chop them up and throw them in my Broccoli and Pea soup.
Bacon would, of course, be a great addition to this recipe. However, when trying to keep things vegetarian and relatively healthy, a handful or two of garden peas cast into the pot just before blending does wonders for a broccoli soup. Peas have an earthy freshness about them, which really comes across no matter where they are used. Of course, garden peas also bring a really appealing sweetness, perfect for the weather at this time of year.
Soup is a fantastic way of making the most of broccoli. There’s simply no need not to use the whole vegetable, thick stalk and all. Remember, waste is more or less unnecessary most of the time. Save those odds and ends and that little bit of leftover broccoli and you could be tucking in to a delicious bowl of broccoli and pea soup in a day or two.
Broccoli and Pea Soup
• 1 large head of broccoli, roughly chopped
• 2 onions, roughly chopped
• 1.5 litres vegetable stock
• 30g butter
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• a few sprigs of thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 100g garden peas
• 1 tin of chickpeas or equivalent dried
• black pepper
1. Melt the butter and oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions. Tip in the chunks of broccoli, followed by the stock, thyme and bay leaves. Cook until the broccoli is tender.
2. Remove the thyme and bay leaves from the pot. Tip in the peas and chickpeas and blend until smooth. Bring back up to temperature, season to taste and serve with a side of homemade bread.
Cost: Ingredients like broccoli, peas and vegetable stock are very cost-effective indeed. So much so that this recipe should set you back no more than £2.20.