Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup
I love the change is seasons. Sydney is currently changing from summer to winter. Coming from the Northern Hemisphere I am used to four distinct seasons in a year, but in Sydney I think we only really get two seasons: summer and winter. The change from summer to winter is usually quite a gradual change. One day will be hot and sunny then the next I’ll be looking for jeans and jumpers.
I love the change in season for two reasons: firstly, I get to dig out a new set of clothes from the back of the wardrobe; secondly, I get to cook a different range of foods. Move over salad and barbeque, it’s time for winter comfort food. In Manchester it never got hot enough to worry about putting the oven on, so we enjoyed hearty food all year round, but in Sydney there are many months of the year when I refuse to put the oven on or it is simply too warm for hot food. This means by April, I’m definitely ready for different foods. Having said that, by October I’m ready for salads and barbeques again!
To start the comfort food festivities I’ve made some soup. Not any old soup though, it’s my favourite, comforting, broccoli and blue cheese soup. I like to use Stilton, as it’s my favourite blue cheese, but you can use any blue cheese you like. I know blue cheese is not to everyone’s taste but this soup is a winner even if you are not a huge fan of mouldy cheese. You can vary the amount of blue cheese to suit your taste. I think 100g is the bare minimum you should use, otherwise you won’t even know it’s there, increase it to 150g or even 200g if you really do like the blue stuff.
Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup (serves 4)
1 large onion
1 head of broccoli
2 sticks of celery
20ml grapeseed oil
1 litre of good quality chicken or vegetable stock
1 small, floury potato (approx 100g)
100g – 200g Blue cheese, such as Stilton
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Chop the onion, roughly into 1cm pieces. Chop the broccoli stems (reserve the florets for later) and celery sticks to a similar size. Add the oil to the pan and gently fry for 10 minutes until soft, but not brown. Stir regularly so it doesn’t brown too much or stick to the bottom of the pan.
Divide the remaining broccoli into florets and peel and roughly chop the potato into 2cm pieces.
Once the vegetables in the pan have started to soften add the stock, broccoli florets and potato. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15 minutes until all vegetables are soft and cooked.
Carefully blend the soup with a stick blender, then return to the heat. Break up the cheese into small pieces and add it to the soup. Heat gently to allow the cheese to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blue cheese can be quite salty so add a small pinch of salt first and taste before adding more if necessary.
Serve with bread for dunking.