To some people, “spring cleaning” implies a thorough sweep of every corner of a house from the inside out. This week, I’ve been doing my own spring cleaning, not of my house–but of my freezer. Among the many things in my freezer is the last of the fall produce that I bought in large quantity at the local farms, in hopes that I could hold on to local produce throughout the winter. Now it’s time to start clearing out and making room for this coming summer.
As I mentioned several months ago, some vegetables freeze better than others–leafy greens like swiss chard and spinach do OK if they’re blanched, then shocked, then drained well before they’re frozen. Kale does remarkably well, without a trace of being frozen. Broccoli, on the other hand, loses its crunch and becomes totally waterlogged. Despite this, I continue to freeze it year after year, because although it loses some texture, it still keeps its flavor well enough to use in soup.
Much like the frozen butternut squash I put in my chicken soup the other night, this broccoli will be the main ingredient in my (chicken) soup tonight, along with potatoes.
I made a chicken broth with drumsticks. To the chicken broth, I’ve added celery, onion, potatoes, carrots, broccoli and parsley stems. The broccoli gets chopped finely, then simply added to the broth at the last minute, along with some cooked pasta (orrechiette or mezzi-rigatoni.
The chicken meat gets taken off the bone and shredded, then added back into the soup. It’s a wonderful green-tasting soup that reminds me that there are some things to look forward to at the end of summer and beginning of winter–like broccoli.
Broccoli and Potato Soup
10 chicken drumsticks
2 medium carrots, diced into 1/2″ cubes
2 ribs celery, sliced thinly, leaves included
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
8 parsley stems, tied with string, for easy removal
2 bunches frozen broccoli, chopped into 1″ pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb cooked orrechiete
Place chicken in stockpot or dutch oven and cover with water by about 2″. Bring to a simmer and remove froth that accumulates as the broth simmers. Simmer for one hour, then taste and add salt.
Add in vegetables, except for broccoli. Simmer vegetables for approx. 1/2 hour.
Add in broccoli and cooked pasta and warm through.
Serve with plenty of grated parmiggiano.