|broccoli and blue cheese soup|
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!
Skill level: Easy
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
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
- In a large lidded saucepan, gently fry the onions in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, for 10 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Tip in the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
- Add the potato and stir well to mix. Cook gently for 5 minutes before adding the broccoli.
- 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).
- 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!
- Return the soup to a clean pan and gently warm. Add the crumbled cheese and warm through until the cheese has melted.
- 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.
- Check the seasoning. You may not need any salt as the blue cheese will be quite salty.
- Grate over a little fresh nutmeg.
- Serve with extra blue cheese crumbled over the soup, with a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.
- 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.