Cream of Cholesterol Soup (Broccoli optional)

Well we're home from vacation. Within 15 minutes it was like we never left: every light on in the house, kitchen counters buried under clutter, socks strewn about, and people needing to be fed. So back to DeCicco's I went to shop for the week in general, and for dinner in particular.  

Jeeps requested cream of broccoli soup and I was game. I'd never made a true cream of broccoli soup before. My tried-and-true resource for new soups is Mary Gubser. My mom gave me her great book Mary's Bread Basket & Soup Kettle which, as the title suggests, contains nothing but soup and bread recipes. It's unquestionably one of my desert island books.

So the recipe looks straightforward but a little... Well, let's say it's not for the faint of heart. In fact you might need permission from your cardiologist before consuming it, which guarantees it to be good.

Mary Gubser's Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 1 quart fresh broccoli heads, packed (I really had no idea what she meant by this. A quart of broccoli? I used four big broccoli crowns)
  • 2/3 cup butter (2/3 cup butter?!? A stick is 1/2 cup!! I love butter from hell to breakfast and ten ways to Sunday, but I could not make a soup with more than a stick of butter in it. I used half a stick and a generous amount of olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk (yes, whole, and the heavy cream is yet to come!)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (this happens to be one of the far-fetched things I keep in the house. I'm partial to a Christmas spice cookie that's made with white pepper, and in the course of making it I've become very partial to white pepper.)
  • 3 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (One clove. Ha! I used three)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire (Another of my faves, simply because I love to say woostercestershistershire sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp Tobasco (I didn't have this)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (Courage, my friends, courage!!)
  • 3 egg yolks (Stay with me!!)

Have you had your lipitor today? Good. Let's proceed.

Wash broccoli, trim and dry. Reserve a few florets for topping; blanch them separately in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine milk, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic clove(s), Worcestershire and tobasco. You're simply doing this so that you don't add cold liquids to your hot broccoli later.

In your soup pot, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat, add broccoli and cook until tender (meaning you can mash it easily with the side of your wooden spoon). Sprinkle flour over broccoli and stir well until coated. Add liquids from saucepan to soup pot, plus the lemon juice. Stir constantly until smooth and thick.

Remove from burner and either in batches in a blender, or with an immersion blender (that your darling seester gave you for Christmas) puree soup until smooth. Return soup to medium heat. Stir in the heavy cream and I admit, I balked again, and stirred in only 1 cup of it, not the given 2.

Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Slowly whisk about 1/2 cup of soup into the yolks to temper them. Then whisk egg mixture back into the soup.

Taste and adjust with salt if needed. Serve topped with the broccoli florets and pierogies on the side.

Oh, have I talked about pierogies yet? I haven't? Oh wow, put these babies in the same category as scrambled eggs. They are in my house at all times.  When the kids and I are eating alone, I'll make an entire box and serve them with a vegetable and that's dinner. Done and done. They are the bomb.

So the soup was also the bomb. Rich and creamy and decadent. Disturbingly decadent. I mean, something was really wrong about the soup but I couldn't put my finger on it. And then later, it came to me as I was thinking about the ingredients:

Egg yolks...

Olive oil...

Lemon juice...

Yes, my friends. We basically ate mayonnaise.

[Editor's Note: Immediately following Mary Gubser's recipe for cream of broccoli soup is her recipe for Boula Boula. One of the ingredients is, and I quote, "4 cups canned, clear turtle bouillon." I will make dinner of choice for anyone who can find me canned, clear turtle bouillon]