When we arrived at our friend Jenny’s home for lunch one Sunday not long ago, I saw that she had made broccoli and Stilton cheese soup to serve as a first course to the parents.
It struck me then that all this time as I have tried to introduce broccoli to my family’s diet – unsuccessfully, as none of us have managed to develop a taste for it -I have never considered adding broccoli to soup. I usually just steam it to add to either salads or pasta and once in desperation even cooked it as a subzi ( the way one makes cauliflower in India) after I ate it in this form at my sister-in-law’s home. All those attempts having failed to endear this vegetable to us, I had resigned myself to the fact that this is one healthy vegetable our family would have to do without.
But soup with broccoli seemed like an intriguing new idea so I requested that Jenny serve some to the children too, as I wanted to see if my girls would take to this vegetable better in this form.
As it turned out, the girls didn’t exactly love it. They finished it mainly because I told them it would be impolite not to do so. But, significantly, they did not turn up their noses at it completely either, which encouraged me to think that I could probably get away with blending broccoli in to soup too, camouflaged among other vegetables.
So that is what I have done more than once since that Sunday, and the soup I made for dinner yesterday was the nicest of those recent attempts. The girls actually said that they liked it, until I spoilt it somewhat by telling them, feeling rather smug, that one of the vegetables in the soup was broccoli. Indira immediately started to look like she wasn’t pleased at being duped, and said, “So that’s what those tiny green bits are !” in a somewhat vexed voice.
But I do believe they’ll eat it readily enough again; they did like it sufficiently until the moment of truth.
The recipe is much the same as for Indira’s favorite vegetable soup, except that here I replace the red pepper with broccoli.
Tomato,Pumpkin & Broccoli Soup
1/2 a small head of broccoli
about 200 gms of pumpkin
2 pods of garlic
3 medium-sized tomatoes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt to taste (I add about 1 and 1/2 tsps)
Separate the broccoli’s florets, then cut these in to smaller pieces.
Peel and dice the pumpkin.
Wash and chop the tomatoes.
Discard the hard part of the leek, and finely chop the rest, after washing it carefully. Chop the garlic too.
In a pressure-cooker, warm the oil on a low heat and then add the leek and garlic. Sweat these down gently for 4-5 minutes, making sure not to let them brown or burn.
Next, add the pumpkin and the broccoli, cover the cooker, and cook everything together for some time, turning frequently, till the vegetables start to glisten and look soft. Then add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes start to break down.
Add the salt, about 500ml of water, and pressure-cook the vegetables till they are quite soft.
Blend the mixture, adding some boiled water if the soup seems too thick.
Stir in a little unrefined brown sugar ( I added about 1 1/2-2 tsps) if the soup tastes too tart on account of the tomatoes.
A little touch of cream in each bowl is nice, too.