Editor’s note: Hunting & Gathering is part of an ongoing series by  part-time local, regular contributor and foodie extraordinaire, Lisa Barlow. For all you foodies out there, look for more recipes and insights from the likes of Jeff Badger of Siam in the coming weeks.

Sometimes on a cold day, all I want is a warm bowl of soup. Feeling both rushed and lazy yesterday, I grabbed a few heads of broccoli on my way home and 30 minute after walking in the door, sat down to a delicious meal. This recipe is embarrassingly easy to make, but so good I am happy to share it.

The secret to this light, but densely flavored, potage is that it contains a high ratio of vegetables to broth. While its texture is very creamy, no cream or milk is used. Omit the butter and the cheese crackers I served it with and you can feel very virtuous eating it as a meal.

4  small heads broccoli (6-8 cups)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large onion, diced
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
32 oz. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
More salt and pepper to taste

•    Cut off tough ends of broccoli stems, leaving about 2 inches on each bunch. Separate broccoli florets and place them with garlic cloves in a large pot with an inch or two of water and steam until soft. Set aside.
•    In a skillet, brown onion in olive oil until translucent and slightly caramelized. Stir in butter. Set aside in a bowl.
•    Place potatoes and salt in skillet you used to sauté onions. Add an inch of chicken broth and simmer with the lid on until potatoes are soft. Cool slightly.
•    Place broccoli, garlic, onions and potatoes* in batches in a blender. Add enough chicken broth to blend each batch smoothly.
•    Place all blended ingredients into pot and stir in any leftover chicken broth. The soup should have a thick, creamy consistency. If it is too thick, feel free to add extra chicken broth or water (preferably the water you used to steam the broccoli if there is any left).
•     Heat soup. Salt and pepper to taste.

*NOTE: Blending potatoes with a metal blade in the blender will make them a little gluey. This is why you never use a blender or food processor to make mashed potatoes. I find that if I blend them with enough chicken broth, the resulting texture does not adversely affect the soup.

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