broccoli and stilton soup
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On Fridays by default we don't cook. Can't remember how it came about, possibly going back to when we both used to go out to work and come back late in the evenings. Most weekdays we'd scrape together home cooked dinner (we have always been principled). But on Fridays, no - chill out time, takeaway or, more often, foraging in the fridge. For the Weather Man it frequently meant a treat in the shape of takeout fish and chips, for me - opening a can of soup.
Trouble is, he doesn't like soup. It's the texture, he says (I know: wtf?). Wrong to drink out of a cup and can't stab it with a fork (ditto). So be it - life full of soup cans stretched ahead of me unbeknownst when I tied my fate to his, because cooking soup for one is worse than drinking alone.
But sometimes a solitary glass of wine is very much on order and likewise I do get an urge to chop up leeks and spuds and grab the stock cube out of the back of the cupboard - and then naturally freeze pots and pots of it. Theoretically it’s possible to cook just a bowlful of soup but in practice: does a whole leek go into one portion of leek and potato soup? How many tomatoes for a cupful? And how on earth will you make chicken soup for one - with a single chicken wing? No, it’s not practical at all.
I don’t mind, as long as the soup is nice and NOT BLENDED. Blended soup is my pet hate, worse than mushy peas or smoothies (though mind: purée - justified; milkshake - okay). Baby food gloop - and with no texture, so the Weather Man might have been onto something after all.
This soup, admittedly, has been smashed a bit but only to give it more colour: broccoli florets swimming about in grey stock, not good. But I didn’t use blender which only makes soup go cold by the time you're done, but a potato masher - a great tool, useful with tomato sauce as well.
broccoli and stilton soupServings: 4Time: about 40 minutes
- 1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli
- 3-4 tbsp. butter
- salt and pepper
- 750ml vegetable (or chicken stock)
- 50g Stilton or another sharp blue cheese
- 1 tsp capers, drained and rinsed (optional)
1.If cooking your own, make the stock from 2-3 carrots, a parsnip, a large onion, a small leek and a bunch of parsley or lovage, if you can get it.
2.Wash the broccoli. Separate a handful of nice small florets and reserve, chop the rest roughly, stalks and all.
3.Melt the butter in a large pan, add the broccoli and cook on medium-high heat until they start to caramelise a little. Turn the heat down, add a ladleful of stock, put the lid on and cook for 10-15 minutes, making sure the liquid doesn’t cook off.
4.When the broccoli is tender, mash it with a potato ricer, as smooth as you wish. Add three quarters of the Stilton and cook for a minute, then pour in all the stock, season with black pepper and bring to the boil.
5.When the cheese has melted, add the reserved broccoli florets and take the pan off the hob – the little florets are supposed to be barely cooked.
6.Ladle the soup into bowls, crumble in the rest of the Stilton and add capers if you wish.