The Ingredient That Makes Gordon Ramsay's Simple Broccoli Soup Extra Creamy

Gordon Ramsay's reputation as a three-star Michelin chef might make you think his recipes are long and difficult, with hard-to-find ingredients and fancy, complicated techniques. But the master of MasterChef has a secret when it comes to broccoli soup: Keep it simple. First published in "Gordon Ramsay's Passion For Flavor," his recipe consists of just five ingredients: broccoli, water, double cream, salt, and pepper. In The Guardian, chef Clare Symth explains how the simple method of gently cooking and blending broccoli yields a soup with a smooth base that takes naturally to the addition of velvety double cream.

Double cream is 50% butterfat — rich by any definition! By comparison, American heavy cream is 35% butterfat. If you'd like to try double cream, you might be able to find jars of it in the British goods aisle of your supermarket, but in most cases, heavy cream will work just fine as an alternative.

Smooth meets creamy

Chef Ramsay achieves an exceptionally smooth broccoli soup with simple attention to detail, a hallmark of his signature fine dining style. He begins by discarding the fibrous stems and using only the tender broccoli florets. After a brief boil in salted water, he blends the broccoli with just enough water to achieve a flawlessly smooth and glossy texture, free of any lumps or fibrous remnants. The puree is then enriched with double cream to enhance its mouthfeel, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

It's important to avoid substituting clotted cream or crème fraîche in this recipe, as they introduce unintended flavors. Clotted cream results from baking double cream to evaporate some of the moisture, intensifying its butterfat content and toasting the milk sugars. On the other hand, crème fraîche is cultured like yogurt, offering a slight acidity. The best U.S. alternative is heavy cream, which boasts ample butterfat to provide richness and a clean dairy flavor to the soup.