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Broccoli and Stilton Soup

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Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Serves: 4
Approx cost: €2.50
Approx calories (per serving): ~180
Approx preparation and cooking time: 40 mins

I have to admit that there is very little in life that I dislike, in the way of food. Hell, I’ll even eat 3 day old baguette because it’s “kind of like a cracker”. Stilton, and indeed “Bleu” cheese in general I just can’t bring myself to like. It’s something about those little grey/blue pockets of filthy mould pocked throughout what would otherwise be a delicious, creamy cheese that just triggers my gag reflex a bit. I want to like it so bad. I love other cheeses, even camembert, which some people seem to have problems with, and I want to enjoy the full cheese board but it’s just so icky! That said – I have no problem with it once it’s cooked – it’s positively delicious once it’s all melted down on a potato!

… And then there’s Stilton. The Daniel Defoe quote on the Wikipedia page says it all:

We pass’d Stilton, a town famous for cheese, which is call’d our English Parmesan, and is brought to table with the mites, or maggots round it, so thick, that they bring a spoon with them for you to eat the mites with, as you do the cheese

The mouldy veins are created by running electrified copper wires through the cheese while it’s being created. These invoke mould growth… or something. The result is a very strong, very “tangy” cheese which isn’t to everyones’ tastes (mine for example). As with other blue cheeses however, it’s actually quite palatable when cooked and goes quite excellently with broccoli in a soup. If you can’t get your hands on Stilton then just use a firm blue cheese – the differences, unless you’re a real cheese connoisseur, will be negligible!

Ingredients

Broccoli and Stilton Soup ingredients

  • 200g Potatoes
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) head of Broccoli
  • 1 large Onion
  • 80g Stilton or other Blue Cheese
  • 1 stock cube + 2 litres of Water (or 2 litres of Stock if you make your own)
  • 2 tsps Olive Oil
  • 2 tsps Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

You’ll also need

  • A Hand Blender

Instructions

  1. Start by getting a large pan and place the Olive Oil inside. Place on the stove to heat while you peel and roughly chop the onion. When the oil is hot, add in the onion and lightly fry in the oil, stirring periodically, until the onion is translucent. While the onion is cooking, peel and roughly chop the potatos and wash and break apart the florets of broccoli from the stem. Add the potatoes and broccoli into the pan with the onion. Take the broccoli stalk, cut off the bottom and any tough exterior parts before cutting into chunks and adding into the pan. Add in the stock cube and the water (or the stock) along with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.
    Cooking the Soup
  2. Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the broccoli and potatoes are soft. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth using the Hand Blender. Stir in the Worcestershire Sauce, if you have it, and check the taste. Season until the desired taste is obtained. Next, cut off about one third of the stilton. Crumble the remaining two thirds into the pan with the soup and stir around to allow the cheese to melt.
    Crumbling the Stilton
  3. Serve the soup up as soon as you’ve added in the cheese and top with the remaining Stilton, crumbled. Enjoy immediately. It’s especially nice if you top it with some rocket and eat it with some good fresh bread!
    Broccoli and Stilton Soup

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26 Comments

  1. That sounds wonderful. I love blue cheese anyway I can get it, ahem, aside from that lovely British example you found. Yikes! Great post.

    Reply
    • Thanks Greg – it's not all that bad these days. I can imagine in the past though that the cheese had the potential of being quite rank – Reminds me of Casu Marzu (Warning – not safe for your mind!)

      Reply
  2. You would never guess! Stilton and roquefort are my two favourite blue cheese varieties and I couldn't say which one I prefer (if you saw the Frenchmen's faces when I announce it sometimes ;-) ) Where do you find stilton in Paris?? (Mind you I find it in Switzerland…).
    I think stilton should be tasted by every blue cheese fan. It would change the general opinion people have about the British food… (Although I wouldn't advise maggots ;-) I once found them in a maroilles. It was difficult to buy another maroilles after this incident. )
    I love the broccoli and blue cheese combination and the Worcestershire sauce must have made the soup perfect. It looks scrumptious! (I suppose I shouldn't boast, but I am one of the rare non-British persons who know how to pronounce Worcestershire… I am very proud of it :-) )

    Reply
    • Hi Sissi. My wife loves to eat blue cheese, just "as is" but I really find it too much. There's a cheese called "Fauquet". It's the most filthy, stinky crap I've ever seen. Square shape with a bright orange, sticky rind. My wife can just slice it off and eat it, with a bit of harissa on top she says it's delicious :|

      I'm lucky – the Auchan supermarket near me has started to sell quite a few English cheeses. 3 or 4 different types of "decent" cheddar, and some stilton. Not bad!

      Never heard of Maroilles, but I think I'll be avoiding it myself from now on! The Worcestershire sauce made a great rich taste – It *is* funny how some people pronounce it, isn't it? "War-sest-shire"… "Wur-sest-or-shur"… even from native Brits I hear some real mangling!

      Reply
      • Charles, I think your wife might love maroilles. It's the stinkiest cheese in France I think (have you seen the film "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis"? On the other hand I really like it because the taste is surprisingly mellow and delicate in comparison to its smell. (People advise wearing gloves when you try to make a tart with it ;-)
        Don't be scared of maroilles! It's not a "typical cheese with maggots", so do try it if you like for example camembert.
        Maggots can appear in every ripening cheese if it is not protected against the flies, which lay eggs and thus create maggots. You can find maggots on every cheese (even Stilton!).
        I have to remember the Fauquet name. My husband would love it and I'm almost sure he doesn't know it!

        Reply
        • Thanks Sissi – I'll definitely try to find that cheese! I haven't actually seen Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis – I heard that the dialect, and thus the language used in the film is quite inaccessible to non native French speakers – although it was *very* popular here. If you think it's not too impossible to understand, maybe I'll try and have a look!

        • Actually (and I'm not French) the film is 100% understandable. If it was in a completely incomprehensible dialect, no one would understand the film (apart from the rare people who speak ch'ti). They have chosen a couple of words, some identical words but pronounced in a different way (for example "ch" instead of "s"), etc.. If I were you I would see it at least on dvd (if you are able to watch any French film, you will understand this one at least most of the time). It's very funny! (The stupid funny way, but very well made).
          But first, ask a French person to explain to you what are the stereotypes about the French living in the North (I could also explain to you even though I'm not French ;-) This is something you should know before seeing the film, it's more important than understanding all the words).
          I was talking about maroilles because it comes from the North.

  3. I thought broccoli + potato soup is more likely wintery warm up food. But the combination with rocket must give high freshness to the soup. I will definitely try this. (Hopefully I find a proper blue cheese here)

    Reply
    • Thanks Chami – I guess something like Roquefort is quite common, right? Worst case scenario you could use that!

      Reply
  4. I adore broccoli so you know I find this recipe absolutely wonderful. I really love viewing your recipes.

    Reply
    • Broccoli is so great isn't it? Some people really think that warm soups are "only for winter" but to be honest, they can be a great, light thing to have even in summers because they require minimal effort to make!

      Reply
  5. Mmm… this sounds very yummy – enjoyed reading the background on Stilton – maggots and all. I'm a fan of blue cheese though I tend to like the milder varieties – the soup would appear to mellow the sharpness; very nice.

    p.s. love the Worcestershire Sauce!! My brother and I used to eat copious amounts on our morning burgers as kids…

    Reply
    • I remember as a kid I used to cut off the rind from brie to get at the creamy deliciousness underneath… Now I appreciate the rind as an integral part of the cheese. Strange how tastes change! Worcestershire sauce is wonderful. I just happened to spot a bottle in the supermarket on a recent shopping trip. I scoop up British stuff whenever possible because it's not very common that the French with their ever so slightly arrogant view of other countries' cuisine deign to stoop so low as to stock "our" stuff. They even have an entire shelf end of Dairy Milk chocolate these days… just the most amazing chocolate in the world in my opinion!

      Reply
  6. I'm with you – not a big blue cheese fan. I can take it in very small doses, but that's about it. The kids both seem to love it though. I can't figure their little taste buds out. The Daniel Defoe quote is well…way too visual for me. Eeek! I won't read that to Miss A or she'll never eat Blue Cheese (or try Stilton) again. She's developed quite the fear of bugs lately. Can't imagine where she got that from. Ahem. ;)

    Reply
    • Wow, your kids have quite an advanced set of taste buds going on there – I hated any and all "mouldy" cheeses when I was Mr N's age so it's fantastic that they like stuff already at this young age which so many kids would be disgusted by! Not to worry about Miss A – I still freak out and scream like a little girl when I saw oversized moths on the wall (they's so big and hairy… like small bats, argh!) :)

      Reply
      • Don't even get me started on bats. Eeeeek! I was hoping that the bug fear would miss her. I've tried so hard to be brave in front of her. I guess some things are genetic. LOL. Should have heard/seen me on our patio last night. I was screaming and waving my arms around like a lunatic at this flying, crunchy bug. Fortunately the kids didn't see this little display of insanity. LOL. :)

        Reply
        • "flying crunchy bug"… LOL – luckily, if they're really disgusting, and flying low to the ground, my cat usually does an admirable job of disposing of them, by way of having a little snack, although I usually try to catch them and release them outside… give myself a karma boost ;)

          I remember in my old apartment, our kitchen window used to face west and we could see incredible bluey orange skies in the summer at sunset. I used to like to open the window and enjoy it while washing up. One time I heard something whirring around the kitchen which sounded like a distant helicopter. I looked up and saw a bat flying in circles, and I'm ashamed to say I screamed in a very effeminate fashion. My wife came in to see what was going on, saw the bat, slammed the kitchen door (with me STILL INSIDE!) and ran into the bed and hid under the covers, lol! We had bats actually flying in that window on two more occasions after that… I guess it must have been a popular place for them to zip around outside!

        • My cats used to do a good job at cleaning up the bugs for us. They've been slacking lately though.

          Okay, so I'm totally cracking up at your bat story! I would have had the same reaction as your wife! LOL! And if I was the one stuck in the kitchen, I probably would have found a way to fit inside of a cabinet. LOL! How did you get it out of the kitchen?

          Oh I just hate those things. I remember one time Mike and I went out for ice cream and decided to take a walk around the park at dusk. All of a sudden bats were buzzing all around us. I hit the ground in a crouched position, then popped up, left him at the park and ran as fast as I could (think frantic and screaming again) back to the car. He came strolling back unphased.

        • Won't let me reply to your recent comment so I'm replying here:

          Luckily, on all three occasions, the bat found it's way out again after doing about 10 circuits of the kitchen – but the whole time I was cowering in the corner… shrieking "OHMYGODOHMYGOD WHAT DO I DO ARRGH" – and seriously… I'm no small guy – 6'3" and 240 pounds :D

          I heard, not sure how true it is, that bats are attracted to white. I'm not sure why, since they're blind, no? … but apparently my wife's mother and sister used to go into their yard when they were kids with a white sheet over their head to attract bats (yeah… don't ask… maybe that's what they did for "fun" back in 60s and 70s northern Sweden).

        • Wild! I'll know to stay away from white the next time we go walking through that park! LOL. (Actually I'll likely never walk through that park at dusk again!) So glad the bat left on its own. I seriously can't even imagine. :) Thanks for the laugh this a.m. Started my work day out on the right foot. :)

  7. I absolutely love broccoli soup…though tried to make some yesterday without the stilton and it tasted rubbish…I am trying to find an alternative for cheese….your recipe seems to have a lot more flavours than I had in my recipe…might give this a go without the cheese (too much cheese doesn't suit my tummy!)

    Reply
    • Eesh… not sure if I could handle just the broccoli in the soup on its own… Would remind me too much of over-boiled broccoli served with school roast dinners :D If you can't take the cheese then I'd personally go all out and make it a taste extravaganza with some chilli, fresh garlic, maybe some cumin, a touch of nutmeg, definitely keep the potatoes in there, perhaps some finely chopped bacon… and the worcestershire sauce if you can get your hands on it, or maybe a teaspoon or two of marmite!

      Reply
  8. I'm right there with ya, Charles, I absolutely despise blue cheese with all of my being. I've tried and tried to like it, but I cringe every time I taste the tiniest crumble. Sometimes I even request to have my salad made in a clean bowl because blue cheese remnants are often in the other, ha! Aside from my hatred for the cheese though, this soup looks fantastic!! I love broccoli.

    Reply
    • Eww, yeah, that's so nasty isn't it?! I can handle it now – a crumb of blue cheese on the knife and I grimace and keep on chewing, but when I was a bit younger… usch… I'd be happily munching on a cracker and then suddenly… horror of horror, this repugnant flavour of mould would be slowly spreading across my palate! :D

      Reply
  9. Lovely post, I adore soups and haven't made brocolli and stilton yet. Your bat stories are hilarious! Thanks

    Reply
    • Thanks Jenny – I'd strongly recommend trying this as you didn't give it a go yet – it's very good, but then, I'm a big fan of soups in general so I'll probably say the same for most soups to be honest :D

      Reply

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