Robin Quivers' Silky Broccoli Soup

Unlike heavy, cream-based soups, this version of cream of broccoli gets its body and flavor from using all the edible parts of the vegetable. The result is a pure, bright broccoli flavor in a silky soup that’s perfect as a lighter spring dish.

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1 tbsp Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic (sliced)
1 cup Finely diced white onion
1 tsp Fennel seeds
1 Bay leaf
1 head Broccoli (separated into medium-size florets, stems cut into ¼-inch-thick slices)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 pinch Red pepper flakes
6 cups Low-sodium vegetable stock or water

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic, onion, fennel seeds, bay leaf, and broccoli stems and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.

Add the florets, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and enough stock or water to cover the vegetables by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the stems become tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and puree the soup in batches. Adjust the consistency as desired with stock or water.

For an optional garnish, reserve 1 cup of the florets and toss them with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes, or until tender and crunchy.