Friday, January 28, 2011

Broccoli Stem Soup

All fresh fruit and vegetables in Japan are on the expensive side, and I got to thinking about how I was tossing out half of my purchase every time I bought a head of broccoli. I had seen an American cooking show at one point in which a woman talked about how the stems can be cooked and eaten as well, and she showed how you can cut the stem at the bottom in order to steam the entire thing.

I like broccoli, but I like any kind of soup even better than whole vegetables, so I decided I'd rather put the stems to that use rather than eat it cut into pieces. The stems are rich in Calcium, Iron and B Vitamins. They are also milder in flavor so those who are not strong fans of broccoli can have this soup without feeling overwhelmed. Even haters of broccoli might like it if the florets are omitted and only the stem is used. In fact, my husband has said that he feels broccoli soup doesn't taste much like broccoli at all. If you're a fan of broccoli, you can ramp up the flavor by adding in more of the greener, more intensely flavored florets when you make the soup.

This makes a creamy soup which is a bit salty (though it depends on your consomme) and the potato aspect shines through despite using a very small amount of it. If you like your soup thinner, feel free to add in very hot water at the end during pureeing. If you like it thicker, you can add more potato flakes. It's quite a flexible recipe.

Broccoli Stem Soup:
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 large broccoli stem, cut into pieces
4 (or more) broccoli florets
1 packet or cube of chicken consomme or boullion
1/2 cup skim milk
2-3 cups water
1/3 cup of instant mashed potato buds (or one small potato, peeled and diced)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a medium-sized pan with a fitted lid over medium-low heat.
  2. Add oil to the pan then stir in the onions and garlic. Saute until the onions are wilted and just starting to brown a bit.
  3. Add the broccoli stem pieces and florets. 
  4. Add the milk and as much water as it takes to cover most of the florets, though about 1/4 should peek out over the liquids. I usually require 2 1/2 cups of water, but it really depends on the size of your broccoli. 
  5. If you are using a real potato, add the potato pieces.
  6. Add pepper and chicken consomme.
  7. Stir and cook covered over medium-low heat. If it boils too vigorously, reduce the heat. Cook until the stem pieces are soft (or the potatoes are done).
  8. Remove from heat and add the mashed potato buds. 
  9. With an immersion blender, puree the soup. Taste and add salt if desired.

Please note that I buy and use small heads of broccoli so the nutrition information reflects the sizes that I'm cooking with. Your situation may vary if you have access to more substantial stalks and florets and if your chicken consomme is more than 9 calories per packet (which is the count on my standard consomme).

Nutrition information courtesy of the SparkRecipes calculator:


  1. This is an excellent way of nothing going to waste, I would eat the stems too. I dip them into Ponsu, etc... they are good, right? Never had them pureed, or in soup. I'm not much of a salt person.. even those tortilla chips, for dipping (I think they are made in Japan) are wayyyyy to salty for me.

    It's going to be so cold this weekend... might even snow a bit... hope you are doing well. I was up making macaron's to use for my clients... but I'm soooo tired... and regretting not wearing my crocs = )