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Creamed Broccoli-Leek Soup

To make this smooth and creamy soup, look for all-natural, full-flavored vegetable or chicken broth sold in 1-quart cartons. For a tangier flavor, use a soft goat cheese in place of the blue cheese garnish.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 lb. broccoli florets 
  • 1 leek, white and light green portions, finely chopped 
  • 1 Tbs. whole-grain mustard 
  • 2 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves, plus leaves for garnish 
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Crumbled blue cheese for garnish 

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, broccoli, leek and mustard and sauté until the leek is soft and translucent and the broccoli is bright green, about 5 minutes. Add the 2 Tbs. oregano and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat and blend with an immersion blender or standing blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. (The soup can be prepared up to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, reheat gently over medium-low heat, thinning the soup with more broth if needed.)

Place the pan over medium heat until the soup is heated through. Ladle into warmed bowls and top each serving with a little blue cheese and a sprinkle of oregano. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Easy Entertaining, by George Dolese (Simon & Schuster, 2005).