Comforting and hearty, this Small-Batch Brussels Sprouts Soup will convert sprout haters, thanks to some simple tricks. This small-batch recipe doesn’t leave you drowning in a vat of soup (and scales easily if you need more)!

Small-Batch Brussels Sprouts Soup converts sprout haters

My dad loves most food, but he hates Brussels sprouts. Like makes-a-face-and-says-eewww hates them. And he loves this soup, so when I tell you that it can convert a sprout hater, I’m not kidding. This Small-Batch Brussels Sprouts Soup is smooth, rich, and comforting. Perfect for lunch on a cold day.

Based on a classic French recipe

The basis of this recipe comes from Ginette Mathiot’s I Know How to Cook, a translation of the French cookbook (Je sais cuisiner) that adorns the shelves of many a French household. Where a lot of French cookbooks are complex and hard to follow, this one is laid out for a beginning cook. Mathiot broke down recipes to their essential ingredients and basic techniques.

Sadly, it’s a bit hard to find these days, but a translation of another of her cookbooks is due out in April, with a foreword from David Lebovitz. I’m planning on getting it.

I’ve reduced the batch size of this recipe, as I’m cooking for one and not for a large family. Over the years, I’ve also changed the amount of stock and have added seasoning. However, the genius of the recipe is all Mathiot’s.

A good recipe for reducing food waste

This soup gets pureed at the end, so your sprouts do not need to look lovely. Indeed, this is a great recipe to use up Brussels Sprouts that might have some browned leaves. As there’s already some trimming involved with the stems, just cut away anything unsightly.

Frozen is fine, as is bullion

You can make shorter work of the prep for this soup using frozen Brussels Sprouts (I would not use the tiny ones, as it could change the texture). No need to trim or thaw them, just add them to the boiling water.

Bullion also works in this recipe. I used Better than Bullion for this recipe, and it’s tasty. When I use bullion, I tend to cut the recommended amount in half, as things can get a little too salty, but that’s my personal preference. 

Parboil takes out the bitterness

To start the soup, you parboil your trimmed sprouts in salted water in the same pot you’ll use to make the soup. This takes away a lot of the bitterness and allows the flavors to develop more when you next brown the sprouts. Boil the Brussels sprouts until you can easily pierce them with a paring knife, but they are still a brighter green. Drain them and return the pot to the stove.

Brown your sprouts

Melt butter in your warm pot. Add the sprouts again, stir to coat, and then cook them until they begin to brown. This deepens the flavor and, again, takes out the bitterness. Browning them can take longer than you might think, but you’re not looking for charred, just browned.

Once browned, sprinkle with flour, and then cook it for another minute.

Make the soup

Once the flour has cooked, cover with stock, having a little more on hand if necessary. Add herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until you can mash the sprouts with a fork. 

Over the many years I’ve been making Brussels Sprouts Soup, I’ve found that the time this takes can vary a lot, not just from the size of the Brussels sprouts, but also the texture of them, so I would allow 40 minutes or so. You may need to add more stock if it simmers down too much, and you will want to skim off the foam that rises to the surface.

Purée and serve

Once you have very soft sprouts, it’s time to purée your soup. I use an immersion blender for this, but you can use a food mill or regular blender for a smoother soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning. To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle with a little cream. You could also add croutons for a very French touch, but I almost never do this.

A small batch

The full recipe for this soup makes a lot of it. Like eat it for lunch and dinner for a week lot of it. While you can freeze Brussels Sprouts Soup, my tiny apartment freezer did not really accommodate too many big freezer projects.

So, I make small batches of it. This will make enough for four or five soup-course sized portions or a couple of big ol’ bowls of soup. To me, that’s a perfect amount to enjoy Brussels Sprouts Soup without getting sick of it.

Need more? Just use the multiplier on the recipe. A full batch is about three times the size of the recipe.

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Brussels Sprouts Soup

Brussels Sprouts Soup is based on a very simple recipe from I Know How to Cook, a translation of a classic French cookbook for beginning cooks that's sadly a bit hard to find these days. Over the years, I've added a few touches to it to bring out more flavor.
The genius of this recipe is parboiling the sprouts before proceeding with the soup. This step takes out the bitterness.
Frozen Brussels sprouts work perfectly here, and can save you time on trimming. It's also a great recipe to use less-than lovely sprouts, as you can just trim away anything that doesn't look great.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed, and any brown leaves removed. If the ends are brown, trim. If you have larger sprouts, cut them in half 158 grams
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter 28.4 grams
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour 7.8 grams
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, to cover just shy of a liter. Bullion is fine here. I use Better than Bullion. I tend to use about half the recommended amount and then adjust for salt
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Serve

  • Heavy cream, or a small pat of butter, or croutons

Instructions
 

Parboil the Brussels Sprouts

  • In a heavy-bottomed pot you'll use for the soup, bring four cups of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels Sprouts and cook until you can pierce the sprouts with a fork, but they are still bright green. Time will depend on the size of your sprouts.
    Drain and return the pot to the stove
    ⅓ pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed, and any brown leaves removed. If the ends are brown, trim. If you have larger sprouts, cut them in half

Make the Soup

  • Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sprouts and cook in the butter until they begin to brown
    2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Sprinkle with the flour, stir to coat, and cook for another minute or two to remove the taste of the flour
    1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Add stock to cover, add the herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook until the brussels sprouts are very soft. You may need to add additional stock if too much cooks off.
    4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, to cover, 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 1 sprig thyme, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • Remove the herb stems and skim to remove any foam that has risen to the surface.
    Taste for seasoning and adjust
  • Using an immersion blender (or food mill or blender), puree the soup

Serve

  • To serve, return to a simmer. Garnish as desired with heavy cream or a small pat of butter. Croutons are also nice
    Heavy cream, or a small pat of butter, or croutons

Video

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