March is one of those in between times. We are hankering for spring and wrapping up winter (or so we thought until our 15-inch snowfall – times 2!). Except for cheese pumpkins, winter storage vegetables are thankfully depleted. We need fresh greens, but other than herbs on our windowsills, there’s nothing growing in our kitchen garden.
But… from the market, there’s always celery. And onions. And potatoes. And broccoli. Staples of the dark days of winter, whether grown locally or brought in. They’re not like zucchini, or asparagus or tomatoes that are available out of season, or at least the local season, but so clearly belong to another time of year. They seem more timeless and appropriate for the season called “it’s still winter,” regardless of the date.
This is a flexible soup. The basics are chopped broccoli and onion, sautéed and then braised in vegetable broth, chicken stock or water, seasoned well, and pureed. I find that version flat in taste and not well textured. Even adding curry spices and dairy doesn’t do the trick. By adding a peeled potato (not much), it becomes creamy without the addition of dairy. By including a stalk or two of celery, the flavor perks up. Finishing it with chopped celery leaves and parsley contributes the spring-like herbal taste that we are craving on this supposed first day of spring. Sprinkled Japanese-style lemon pepper adds spark, as does optional sour cream or yogurt. Now that’s better. We’re all dressed up and ready for spring!