Broccoli is a very healthy vegetable that tastes like what you get between your toes when you neglect to wash them often enough. It's apparently got all sorts of weird stuff in it like iron and calcium and all that other crap you used to burn during science class at high school. It's really small or invisible or whatever but lots of people who spent several years studying science, even after simply burning novel bits of metal to create pretty colours and writing down what that colour was ceased to be considered sufficient work, say that it's quite good for you. I honestly don't know whether they're correct or if they just need to use a less toxic fuel in their bunsen burners but those people with white coats and poor social skills all seeming to be in loose agreement can be pretty convincing. Whatever. Broccoli connotes less excitement or decadence than spending saturday night at home in order to assist an overweight sibling reorder their coin collection, and for that reason I find it necessary to FUBAR it completely when I use it. Since I came across this recipe I found I've actually enjoyed eating it. I've tweaked it a little and this version is more satiating than many other soups, so it may prove unsuitable as a small snack before a liquid dinner. As well as being tasty, it's about as difficult as getting shot in Palestine, so there you go.

Serves four.

  1. Cut the tips and stem of the broccoli into small chunks. There's a fair bit to cut up so don't worry about getting it too small, about the size of sugar cubes is good enough. Boil the stock in a frying pan, then lower the heat so that it simmers. Add the broccoli and cover, leave on the heat for ten minutes.
  2. While you're waiting for the broccoli to soften slice the onion and bacon into nifty little bits for the soup. Once this is done, read a magazine. Ring up your girlfriend or some chick you've meant to spend time with and tell her you're cooking an awesome dinner and she can come round if she brings a six pack of beer (substitute genders, beverages etc. as appropriate). Watch television. You get the idea.
  3. Once the broccoli has simmered in the stock for ten minutes, turn the heat off and wait a couple more minutes. Take this time as an opportunity to tell Julia or Cathy or whoever it is this time how that beer you like but usually find a little too expensive would be a good accompaniment to the meal. It's worth a shot, and you've been slaving over a hot stove for hours - minutes, even - so you deserve a drink.
  4. Spoon the brocolli/stock mixture into a blender or food processor and zap. If you can make the zapping especially violent then take the opportunity to allow the extra volume and higher frequency of noise to scare your dog. Realise that buying this blender was as good an idea as buying that super-strength vacuum cleaner, and for fairly similar reasons. When your dog's tail is wagging again and you've stopped laughing, give her a bit of bacon 'cos she's a good girl really if somewhat amusing. Put the heat back on the pan and put in the oil, bacon and onion. Give it a minute or so before putting in the mooshed up broccoli. Wait until it's thick enough, then stir in cream and nutmeg. Take off heat to prevent curdling. Lose to your stoned flatmate at Mario Kart until all guests have arrived, serve and eat.

liveforever reckons that poached eggs make a good addition to this meal, and having tried it, I find that I agree. Be aware that doing this will make the soup even richer, allowing it to be a main course in itself. Serve the eggs whole, or halved, in the soup.

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