Thu 26 Apr 2018
Read other related stories: Broccoli , Direct Cooking , Gas Grill Techniques , Soups , Stove Top Smoking
CHARRED BROCCOLI SOUP WITH GRILLED BROCCOLI FLORETS
Known as the mini tree, broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family that includes cabbage, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, and kale to name a few. Broccoli is low in calories and packed with nutritional value including Vitamin K, C, folate, and potassium.
Although popular as a steamed or stir-fry vegetable, one of the great things when grilling broccoli is it doesn’t lose any nutritional value and you gain great flavor.
I’m going to give you two easy ways to bring wood flavor to broccoli using the equipment of your choice. Then I’ll tell you how to make an easy broccoli soup that is loaded with hearty flavors of the wood fire.
Gas Grill Method
One of the benefits of using a gas grill is the heat level control and speed at which the grill can do what you want. For this method of grilling, I’ll first get four wood chunks from SmokinLicious® in the double filet size and place on one of the grill’s heat shields. This will be the easy way of adding wood flavor to the broccoli while it cooks. Set the burners to medium and allow the grate to heat up and the smoke to generate from the wood chunks. Then place pre-cut broccoli florets on the grill grate keeping some space between the pieces. I usually can close the lid for the first 5-8 minutes before things start to cook rapidly. At that point, you’ll need heat-safe tongs to turn the broccoli so it cooks and colors evenly. Once done, remove to a bowl and allow to cool.
Stovetop Smoker Method
Stovetop smokers are perfect for the person who lives in a location that a grill isn’t possible, or who prefers to cook indoors but craves smoke flavor. I’m using the indoor kettle smoker from Nordic Ware® which uses a wood chip product to produce the smoke. SmokinLicious® offers a great assortment of wood chip sizing with recommendations specifically for stovetop smokers. I am using a custom blend of Minuto® Wood Chips in #4 White Oak, #8 Wild Cherry and #6 Hickory. You can view our series on the specific steps of this method in Dr. Smoke’s Tips and Technique blog. Unlike the gas grill method, with this one, just load the broccoli florets to the smoker tray, put the cover on and come back in about 40 minutes for the finish.
Bring on the Soup!
After wood firing the broccoli, it’s time to gather the additional ingredients to make our charred broccoli soup. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3 cups of baby spinach
- 6 cups of wood-fired broccoli, chopped
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1-1/2 fresh avocado, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups of broth plus extra for thinning soup
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil
- Salt & fresh ground pepper
To start the soup, place the oil in a pot and add the diced onion, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic. Allow time to cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Then add the 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil.
After tenderizing the aromatics and adding the broth, add the 6 cups of chopped wood fired broccoli. Allow the flavors to marry for about 5 minutes on boil, then turn the heat off. Add the 3 cups of baby spinach, mixing to combine. Allow the mixture to cool until just warm.
Place ½ the mixture in a blender or food processor with some of the diced avocado and pulse until pureed. At this stage, the soup mixture will be thick. Once the ingredients are completely pureed, transfer back to the pot and place on low heat. You can alter the thickness of your final soup by adding broth as needed. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
Happiness in a Bowl
Once the soup has been returned to the stove on low heat, you can start to alter the consistency and flavors to suit your taste. If you prefer a thinner soup, add broth. Don’t like quite that much smoke flavor? Add a touch of cream or sour cream to balance out the flavors. Like a bit more kick? A drop or two of hot sauce works great. Once the consistency is achieved, top each serving with a drip of cream and some chopped avocado. Or, if you want to be dairy free, add a stream of olive oil and chopped avocado. This is a soup that you can make your own.
I’ve gone cheese-free but you certainly can add that as well. Frankly, this soup is even yummy served cold. No matter if you pick the gas grill method or the stovetop method, you’ll have a flavorful, hearty broccoli to use in this soup recipe or other recipes featuring this healthy cruciferous vegetable.
Tasting Notes on our Charred Broccoli Soup recipe:
To tone down the boldness of the smoke, always reach for hardwoods that are noted to be lighter in flavor tones. These would include Alder, Ash, and Wild Cherry.
If you want to make this a cream-based soup, simply add ¾ cup of light cream or ½ cup of sour cream to the finished soup. Allow for marrying with the other ingredients for 10-15 minutes before serving.
If you’re looking for a broccoli-cheese version, good choices for cheese include white cheddar, Gruyere, Asiago, Maasdam.
If you want a thinner soup consistency, add an additional 1 cup of broth.
For a spicy kick, add 2 teaspoons of hot sauce or a tablespoon of Hoisin sauce.