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The Best Recipe: Soups & Stews, Cook's Illustrated Magazine

Serves 4 TO 6

To preserve its delicate flavor and color, this soup is best served immediately. A few croutons are the perfect embellishment.

• 4   tablespoons unsalted butter
• 8   large shallots, minced (about 1 cup), or 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, chopped fine (about 1 1/3 cups)
• 2   tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 4  cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 1/2   pounds broccoli
• 1/2   cup heavy cream
• 1 1/2   teaspoons lemon juice
• Salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over low heat until foaming. Add the shallots and cook, covered, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Stirring constantly, gradually add the chicken stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Mean-while, separate the broccoli stalks and florets. Trim the tough bottom portion of the stalks and then peel the tough outer skin from the remaining portion. Coarsely chop the stalks and pulse them in a food processor until cut very small but not pureed. (The largest pieces should be peasized.) Transfer the stalks to a medium bowl. Coarsely chop the florets and then pulse them in the food processor, in two batches, until cut very small but not pureed. Transfer the florets to the bowl with the stalks.

3. Add the broccoli to the simmering stock. Increase the heat to medium-high, and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes.

4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Rinse out and wipe the saucepan clean. Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan and stir in the cream. If the soup seems too thick, stir in up to 1 cup hot water. Warm the soup over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


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