A smooth and lightly spicy soup, accented with crunchy croutons, is just right for the cooler evenings of early fall; give this one a try even if you think you're not a broccoli fan. The optional coconut milk adds a bit of body and richness. May be halved and may be frozen.
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Add the pepper flakes and curry powder. Continue to cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add broth and broccoli, and raise heat to medium-high. When soup comes to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook, maintaining a simmer, until the broccoli is very tender, about 30 minutes.
4. While the soup simmers, make the croutons. Preheat oven to 350degreesF. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Remove and discard the crusts from the bread slices. Cut remaining bread into 1/2-inch cubes and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray bread cubes lightly with olive oil cooking spray and dust evenly with cumin. Bake until dry and crunchy, 8 to 10 minutes, turning the bread cubes once halfway through cooking. (The croutons may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored, once cooled, at room temperature in an airtight container.)
5. When the broccoli is tender, remove the soup from the heat and puree using an immersion blender or a blender. Reheat the soup gently as necessary. To serve, ladle hot soup into 6 bowls. Top each with 1 Tbsp. of coconut milk if using and a small handful of croutons.
Source: Fresh Magazine September, October 2010