4 c. stock
1 1/2 pounds of broccoli
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 celery rib, celery diced and leaves chopped
2-3 garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
Aromatics: 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 bay leaf, 1 pinch of dried thyme
1-1 1/2 cup cream, or reserved cooking water from cooked broccoli (optional)
2 cups shredded sharp cheese (aged gouda, cheddar, a mild chevre are all possibilities)
- Separate the crowns from the broccoli stems, then separate the crowns into florets. You should have at least 4 cups. Thickly peel the stems, quarter them, and chop them into small pieces, yielding a cup or so. Bring a 4-5 cups of water to a boil and add 1 scant teaspoon salt and the broccoli florets. Cook for about 3 minutes, then scoop out the florets, reserving the water. Rinse under cool water and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the onion, celery, broccoli stems, garlic, and cayenne. Cooke over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, then pour in a quart of stock, or use the reserved water from the broccoli, saving any remainder. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes. Add the milk/cream/broccoli water if needed to thin the soup. During the last few minutes, add the florets and allow them to heat through.
- Remove the bay leaf and then puree the soup using an immersion blender (you could use a blender and when you are done, return the mixture to the pot). Taste for salt and season with pepper. Just before serving, stir in the cheese, but don't let the soup boil or else the cheese will toughen.