With the onset of colder weather I am ready to start making soups. Tonight I had a lovely dinner of broccoli soup, bread (I really like the half loaf from La Ferme Bakery that WholeFoods carries since I don't live near the actual bakery in Cary), and cheese from the Chapel Hill Creamery.
What makes the soup extraordinary is a garnish of pesto made from chive, olive oil and cayenne. My fabulous friend in Pinehurst gave me the recipe. He calls it fit for the gods.
Broccoli soup w/ chive pesto:
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or 1T butter for the extra tablespoon)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped chives
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
a good glug of dry white wine
1 pound broccoli, stems and crowns cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
4 cups home made chicken broth
salt and pepper
Puree 1/4 cup oil, chives, and cayenne in blender. Season with salt. -- Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and bay leaves; cook until onion is golden, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add a good glug of wine and let it burn off. Add broccoli; stir until bright green, about 1 minute. Add broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Cool soup slightly.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, about 1 minute per batch. Return soup to pot. Rewarm until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Drizzle with chive-cayenne oil and serve.