Cold and Creamy Broccoli Soup with Croutons

1 head broccol1 (about 1-1/2 pounds), trimmed and cut into small pieces
1-1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, halved
1 med-sized sweet onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
Three 14-1/2 oz cans chicken broth
1 cup light cream, half-and-half cream or milk (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoned Croutons

In a large pot put broccoli, mushrooms, onion, garlic and chicken broth. If necessary, add water just to barely cover vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer 2 to 3 minutes or just until broccol1 is tender. Remove from heat. Put about 2 cups vegetable and broth mixture in blender container; cover and blend until smooth,

Repeat with remaining vegetables mixture until all soup is pureed. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Just before serving, stir in cream if desired and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in large bowls generously garnished with croutons.

Makes about 2 quarts of soup, 6 to 10 servings.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana