reasons to be cheerful: celeriac and stilton soup

celeriac and Stilton soup
If I ever needed a reason to be thankful, it is to the happy accident that led to the discovery of blue cheese. A combination of conditions, bacteria and man's willingness not to be put off by a bit of mould, means that we now have a whole gamut of piquant blue cheeses that taste fabulous and cook beautifully. It is yet again another example of serendipity in the world of food. Oh happy days! 

Celeriac, to the uninitiated, looks like something you would see on an episode of Dr Who - it has a somewhat monstrous and alien appearance, a bit like Bill Nighy as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. But don't be put off by its tentacle-like roots. Celeriac has both an intensely celery flavour, with a hint of smokiness and goes beautifully with any tangy blue cheese.

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

50g butter
1 x medium English onion, finely chopped
1-2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 x medium celeriac (about 750g to 1kg), peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre stock (vegetable or chicken)
250ml milk
100ml white wine (optional)
1 x bay leaf
1 x sprig of fresh thyme (or half tsp dried thyme)
250g Stilton, crumbled (set a little aside to garnish the soup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and celeriac. Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and white wine and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and add the bay leaf and thyme. Cover with a lid and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Set aside and leave to cool before blending. (Do not try to blend when hot, as this can be dangerous, particularly if using a jug blender. A combination of hot soup, a build-up of steam and vibration, can cause the hot liquid to explode out of the blender. Safer to let it cool a little!)
  6. Before blending remove the bay leaf and if using a sprig of thyme the woody stem.
  7. After blending, you may decide to pass the soup through a sieve for extra smoothness.
  8. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and bring back to a simmer.
  9. Add the milk and warm through.
  10. Add the crumbled Stilton and stir continuously until the cheese has melted into the soup. Do not let the soup boil as it may curdle.
  11. Check the seasoning. It is unlikely you will need any salt as the Stilton will be quite salty.
  12. Serve with a little of the stilton crumbled over each bowl.

  • Add matchsticks of chopped apple to the soup before serving adds a tart but sweet contrast to the soup.
  • Top with a little sliced celery for added crunch.
  • Replace the celeriac with a head of celery, chopped and a medium potato, to add a little bulk to the soup.
  • I like to use most blue cheeses with this soup, such as Wensleydale, Stichelton, Gorgonzola or Roquefort. I particularly like using a blue Brie or Cambozola as I particularly like the way the rind turns into a sort of cheese "toffee" through heating. It is not to everyone's taste!
  • This soup can be served chilled, with a swirl of cream.
  • Replace the white wine, with white port for extra sumptuousness.


Elaine said...

What an inspired description of celeriac! I am going to borrow that, I hope you don't mind. p.s. The soup looks pretty darn good too.

Northern Snippet said...

I love celeriac,one of my faves.

heathcliffe said...

I have to confess that Rach brought a tub of this round to the flat and it was (honestly) the best soup I think I've ever had.

As a single man, I've eaten lots of soup.

It never occurs to me that you can actually *eat* celeriac, but the combination of that and the stilton worked amazingly.

The stilton gives it a deep, mouth filling flavour. Rich without being overpowering. The celeriac and the thickness make it smooth and homely and filling.

Incredible flavours that melt together. Perfect winter soup. :-)

I honestly can't recommend this one enough. I licked the tub out.

And the groove in the lid.

I've put in an order for a gallon of it next time I see her.