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It was raining here in Toronto the last few days. Before that, it had been sizzling hot, July & August being the only time in Toronto when one might sweat, so the rains were a welcome break. The warm rains reminded me of the monsoons back home, which I can only hear about on the phone this year, so I was very glad indeed. We were visiting the 1000 Islands that weekend, and rain felt so good on the hot and sultry afternoon.

But thing with Canada is, the rains don’t really stay warm for long. By the end of 2 or 3 rainy days, the weather started getting decidedly chilly, the rains continued to pour and days remained overcast and dark. Fond as I may be of the rain, the fondness is mostly reserved for the good ol’ comforting Indian rain and this dreary damp weather was dragging my spirits down. I felt cheated. This was supposed to be summer. Summer is supposed to be warm. Why on earth is it already too chilly to even stand in the balcony without a sweater? Not fair! Cheating! My mood badly needed some picking up.

You know what they say – Make soup while the rain pours. Oh. Wait. They don’t say that? Well, they should. I do. And I did. Make soup, that is. I made this creamy, comforting broccoli soup, which has just a hint of orange to console the heart that summer will be back again while its smooth hot richness warms you through and through on chilly damp evenings. I found this gem of a recipe on a calendar, and I looked at it everyday for a month until I just had to make it. And boy, am I glad I did! This soup is just as delicious, served chilled directly from the refrigerator the next day, when the flavours have had a chance to develop. This a slightly tweaked version of the calendar recipe.

Prep time : 40 mins
Serves : 5

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1 bunch Broccoli (about a pound), trimmed and chopped
1 large Potato, peeled and diced
2 medium Onions, diced
1 tsp grated Orange Rind
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated (optional)
Salt, Pepper and Hot Chilli Flakes to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Add the chopped broccoli, potato, onions, garlic, grated orange zest, hot chilli flakes, pepper and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let it simmer for 10-15 mins until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Transfer the hot contents carefully to a blender and puree. Do in batches if necessary.
  3. Return to pot, add milk and season with salt. Stir well. Reheat if necessary, but be careful to not bring it to a boil.
  4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese if using. Serve steaming hot.

MY NOTES:

If you like your soup chunky, keep aside a few pieces of vegetables before blending it and add to back to the soup once pureed.

I usually skip the cheese and serve it with cheese crackers or croutons for variation.

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