Best ever broccoli soup

This winter warming soup has the goodness of umami-rich anchovy to boost the flavour. The Brassicacasae, or cruciferous vegetable family as they were formerly known due to their crucifix like appearance1, include mostly pungent vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnip, broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens.

Most of these we disliked as children. Perhaps it was due to the strong odour of sulphur when overcooked, since children have such a keen, unadulterated sense of smell. Commonly on April Fools Day at boarding school, sulphur hyroxide (rotten egg gas) would emanate from the Chemistry lab, permeating throughout every quadrangle and dining hall. This had to be part of my education as it enabled me to analyse why it was that I found the powder produced scrambled eggs decidedly unattractive. Given that I was able to relate what happened in the lab to what happened in the dining room, clearly I was being educated.

Broccoli is a variety of cauliflower that has been grown in Europe for nearly 3000 years. It is also known as Italian asparagus and comes from the Italian word brocco meaning sprout or shoot. Stems should be peeled to make them more digestible. It is extremely rich in vitamin A, essential for bright eyes, as well as B group vitamins and contains more vitamin C than citrus fruits per 100mcg. It also contains Vitamin B9 (folic acid), potassium, sulphur, and iron.

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Best ever broccoli soup

  • Author: Samantha Gowing


Units Scale

2 tsp butter

1 brown onion, peeled, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped

1 tsp ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp cumin, ground

1/2 teaspoon coriander, ground

2 large broccoli

2 litre vegetable or chicken stock

2 anchovies *see note

Salt, to taste

White pepper, to taste


  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter, sauté onion, Garlic and
  2. Ginger until translucent, about 12 minutes.
  3. Add cumin and coriander. Add broccoli and stock, bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Transfer to a high-speed blender. Add anchovy fillets if using, then process until ultra-smooth, about 7 minutes on high.
  6. Return to the saucepan, reheat and season as required. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Anchovies will help to build the umami flavour which is usually a bit yeasty, salty or ‘funky’ and complements the food categories of taste – bitter, sweet, sour and salty.  It is the flavour of glutamate, that savoury, moreish flavour associated monosodium glutamate, the famous and often troublesome taste of Chinese Restaurants.

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