a winter-warming broccoli and blue cheese soup

broccoli and blue cheese soup
Spring may well be around the corner, but London skies are resolutely grey and there is a damp chill in the air. I need to eat something comforting; something that will warm me up on a cold day. Which makes it a soup day and if I could just wait another few weeks I would be able to harvest the rampant wild leeks in my back garden. But I can't wait. I want soup and I want it now. And it needs to be green!

Beautiful cruciferous broccoli isn't just a vegetable to be served as a side dish. It's bitter-sweet intensely green flavour works beautifully in soup. Broccoli also has an affinity for strong salty flavours, so adding blue cheese is a marriage made in soup heaven! 

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

ingredients:
olive oil
1 x English onion, finely chopped
2 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 x head of broccoli (about 400g) - florets and stalks cut into small pieces
1 x medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
500ml vegetable stock
1 x bay leaf
1 x sprig of fresh thyme
100g blue cheese, crumbled (I used Stilton) plus extra, to serve
milk (optional)
a splash of fresh lemon juice or white wine
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to serve

directions:

  1. In a large lidded saucepan, gently fry the onions in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, for 10 minutes until beginning to soften.
  2. Tip in the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the potato and stir well to mix. Cook gently for 5 minutes before adding the broccoli.
  4. Add the stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for 25 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and the stem of the fresh thyme (but not the leaves).
  5. Set aside to cool before liquidising. You may have read my thoughts on this before but essentially 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. Return the soup to a clean pan and gently warm. Add the crumbled cheese and warm through until the cheese has melted.
  7. If the soup is very thick, add a little milk to get a good consistency. A splash of lemon juice or white wine gives a bright acidity to the soup.
  8. Check the seasoning. You may not need any salt as the blue cheese will be quite salty.
  9. Grate over a little fresh nutmeg.
  10. Serve with extra blue cheese crumbled over the soup, with a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.

tips:

  • Replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock - obviously not suitable for vegetarians!
  • Another meaty option is to top the soup with a little chopped crisp streaky bacon.
  • A red chilli finely chopped and added with the garlic gives the soup a nice kick.

6 comments:

belleau kitchen said...

That is a mighty fine looking soup. Lovely recipe x

Lousia Foti said...

Doesn't this look lovely?! I'd forgotten all about the potential to use blue cheese in soups. I so happen to have some leftover christmas stilton that I've been pondering over what do to with. And your soup so fits the bill.....as well as your (award winning!) Parsley, Stilton & Walnut Pesto.

Maggie said...

Great soup recipe. Fascinating to know you have wild leeks growing in your garden too.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Dom - I know the recipe is quite simple, but sometimes you just have to hold back and let the ingredients do the talking :) BTW congratulations on that magnificent broccoli pie recipe!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Louisa - I think I may have overdone the blue cheese in the soup but my oh my did it taste good! Thanks for the kind words about the seasonal pesto - I never win anything so I haven't been able to stop smiling! But I made so much of the stuff I've been eating it for breakfast on toast!

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Maggie - thanks hon. I only noticed the wild leeks about 2 years ago (I moved in here 3 years ago!) Apparently they are also rampant in all my neighbours gardens - so last year they let me harvest (or weed out) theirs too. Much to my delight!