Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the Autumn for a month or so

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Bill's "Broccoli and Blue Cheese" soup

During the time I am in Spain I like to take advantage of the abundant, high quality and still relatively inexpensive locally-grown vegetables on offer here and apart from using these as accompaniments to various meals I like to turn some of them into delicious, rich soups. One of my favourite soups is Broccoli and Blue Cheese which I make both in Scotland and when I am here. Here's my recipe for it, really made up by me by trial and error over the poast few years - I thought if the folks at the New Covent Garden Food Company can make and sell a wide selection of pretty good soups, package them in cartons and sell them for a premium price in most supermarkets in Britain, I could turn out just as good (or better) products in my own kitchen for my own use, albeit of a smaller variety to suit my own tastes.


Broccoli & Blue Cheese soup
(Ingredients)

Large head of broccoli
Medium/large (not too large) courgette
Medium onion
Large stalk of celery
3-5 cloves of garlic, depending on size
1 pint (or a little more) of vegetable stock
Salt, pepper and herbs to taste
Large knob of butter
1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Method
- Heat the butter with the olive oil in a large solid pan;
- Add chopped onion and cover to 'sweat' (sauté) for 5 or 10 minutes, removing lid occasionally to let excess moisture steam off:

- Whilst doing this you can chop the other vegetables - the garlic, broccoli and courgette:

- Add the chopped garlic and stir into the 'sweeated' onion, cover the pan again and allowed to cook a little (say for another 5 or 10 minutes);
- The celery stalk needs to be chopped quite finely:

- Add the courgette and celery, stir in and cover the pan and allow the vegetables to warm through (say for 5 minutes);
- Add the broccoli, stir in and cover the pan and allow it to warm through (say for 5 minutes);
- For the vegetable stock you could make your own, buy ready-made or do as I usually do; use a vegetable stock cube (in my case 'Maggi' or you could use that other well known brand 'Knorr') made up with boiling water;
- Add nearly-boiling stock, cover and bring the whole pan to a slow boil for 10 or 15 minutes, to soften the vegetables;
- Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste - not too much salt (say 1 level teaspoon), pepper and herbs that come to hand - today I used some parsley, oregano and basil, but if the mood took you you could substitute or add herbs such as thyme or tarragon;
- Simmer for a further 5 or so minutes.

Whilst the mixture cooks, prepare the cheese
- About 125g of blue cheese (roughly half of a 250g pack); in Spain I tend to use French Bleu d'Auvergne, because it is widely available here, whereas in Scotland I would probably use Stilton or similar - there is a local Spanish blue cheese which is acceptable, too:

- Chop the cheese roughly and set aside for later:

First stage of blending the soup
- I use a hand-blender which comes with a handy blending jug;
- Ladle the cooked vegetables and some of the stock into several jug-loads of the blending jug and 'blitz' until smooth;
- Each jug-load of blended soup can be added to a large bowl, in my case a large glass ('Pyrex') bowl.

Second stage of blending the soup
- Add the chopped blue cheese to the large bowl and user a hand-blender to blend the whole mixture together thoroughly;
- If you think the soup is a little too thick at this stage you can stir in a little extra boiling water until it reaches your preferred consistency;
- Your efforts are rewarded with a large batch of delicious soup:

My batch of soup today provided slightly more than 13 large ladles of soup, enough for 4 very generous helpings, 5 more modest helpings, or 6 at a push for the not very hungry. I usually swirl a little double cream onto the top of the soup when serving it - to add a little extra richness. Enjoy!

NB/ (Added Sunday 19th January 2014) If you want to print this recipe, I have put a .pdf version on-line here. You can also see other recipes available for download in .pdf format in my Spanish website here.

2 comments - please add your own:

jute said...

Hi Bill, This soup looks, very rich and very delicious, might have a go. Thanks .

Bill said...

Thanks for your nice comment, Jute - I hope you did try out the recipe out and that you enjoyed the result :)