Hulk soup

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It’s quick to make — around 20 minutes from start to finish. And it’s green. That’s why it’s called Hulk soup, after the Incredible Hulk. Until I named my broccoli soup after a superhero, my little people wouldn’t eat it.

Previously untouchable foods become suddenly fashionable when named after, or eaten by, a cartoon character. Have you noticed this too? I wonder if Popeye in his heyday had a positive influence on the spinach consumption of under-12s.

I can’t claim this name as my own: it comes courtesy of our previous next door neighbour. Her version was packed with lots of different vegie offcuts. I like broccoli on its own, for its extraordinary antioxidant levels, and for its taste.

The sulforaphane content of broccoli has been the subject of focused studies since at least the mid-1900s, notably for its potential as an anti-cancer, anti-Alzheimer and anti-inflammatory treatment, with soup having been identified as an effective delivery mechanism [1]. Your body will benefit from up to 100 times more sulforaphane when you eat your broccoli as sprouts[2]!

My Hulk soup is given a super antioxidant boost by the addition of turmeric and black pepper.

Recipe #: Hulk soup. With crusty bread or croutons, this serves 4 as a main meal. Aside from a chopping board and knife, you will need either a Thermomix (TM) with its basket, or a medium saucepan and a blender/food processor that can handle hot liquids.

You will need:
► 1 large head of broccoli
► 1 medium-sized brown onion, peeled
► 1 large clove of garlic, peeled
► 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder [or 1/2 tsp of fresh turmeric]
► several grinds of black pepper
► several grates of nutmeg
► 500mL-1L of vegetable stock
► several good swigs of olive oil [probably 2-3 Tbsp, but I have never measured…]
► 1 Tbsp of butter [optional – you can substitute with a little more oil]
► salt, to taste

TM method:

  1. Start by cutting the broccoli florets from the stem and stalk. Set the florets to one side. Now chop the stem into 2cm-cubed pieces and set them to one side too. Discard any woody bits of stem as you go.
  2. Roughly chop the onion and place it in the TM with the garlic clove. Set to speed 10 for around 5 seconds, until chopped into small pieces. Use a spatula to push down any remnants of onion and garlic from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the oil (and butter, if used) and set the TM to 100°C, 5 minutes, and speed 1.
  4. Place the pieces of broccoli stem into the TM basket, and ease the basked into the TM. Pour over the stock, adding a smaller amount at first (you can amend the consistency later — ie. more stock for a runnier soup). Set the TM to 100°C, 3 minutes, speed 1.
  5. Using the TM spatula, tip the stem pieces into the TM bowl, along with the turmeric, black pepper, and nutmeg.
  6. Place the broccoli florets into the TM basket and replace the basket in the TM. Set the TM to 100°C, 5 minutes, speed 1. Check on the florets every minute or so, as you want them to stay bright green and a little crunchy.
  7. Using the TM spatula, tip the broccoli florets into the TM bowl and whiz the soup to the consistency you want. For supersmooth, gradually increase to speed 10 and hold it there for around a minute. For a chunkier consistency, blend for 15 seconds, speed 10, then check and blend for longer if needed.
    >If you want a thinner soup, you may want to check on the soup after the first 15 seconds in any case, add more stock, then continue to blend to the smoothness you desire.

Conventional method:

  1. Start by cutting the broccoli florets from the stem and stalk. Set the florets to one side. Now chop the stem into 2cm-cubed pieces and set them to one side too. Discard any woody bits of stem as you go.
  2. Heat the saucepan, with the oil and butter (if used) over a medium heat until the oil ripples in the pan. Roughly chop the onion and garlic, and place them in the saucepan. Sauté until translucent.
  3. Add the pieces of broccoli stem to the saucepan and stir into the onion-garlic mix. Pour over the stock, adding a smaller amount at first (you can amend the consistency later — ie. more stock for a runnier soup), and bring this to simmer.
  4. Place the broccoli florets, turmeric, black pepper, and nutmeg to the saucepan and set a lid over the mixture. Remove from the heat when the broccoli florets are bright green and still crispy. Check regularly, as this will happen within a couple of minutes.
  5. Transfer this mix to a blender and blend to the desired consistency
    >If you want a thinner soup, you may want to check on the soup after the first few seconds of blending. You can add some heated stock (warm it in the saucepan you used to make the soup), then continue to blend to the smoothness you desire.

Before you serve, taste the soup and add salt if needed, a pinch at a time.

Serve with a swirl of olive oil, some toasted pine nuts or pepitas, and crusty bread that’s been toasted, buttered/oiled, and rubbed with a garlic clove. For an extra-special treat, add a wedge of blue cheese or a dollop of double cream and enjoy its slow melt into the soup.

Or, for bigger sulforaphane hit, garnish simply with fresh broccoli sprouts.

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Delicious.

H 🙂


References:

  1. University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Agricultural, Consumer And Environmental Sciences. (2005, April 5) ‘Maximizing The Anti-Cancer Power Of Broccoli’, ScienceDaily. Retrieved 21 July 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050326114810.htm
  2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y. & Talalay, P. (1997) ‘Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens’, PNAS: 94 (19) 10367-10372. Retrieved 21 July 2016 from http://www.pnas.org/content/94/19/10367.full
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