Monday, 22 October 2012

Broccoli Soup with Stilton and Bacon

I've got a bit of man flu going on at the moment, so I thought a nice hearty, healthy bowl of soup would be just what the doctor ordered.  Then I threw a load of cheese and bacon into it.

Vegetable-based soups are incredibly cheap and easy, and they taste so much better than anything you can buy out of a tin.  They're also a good way of introducing children/fussy eaters to vegetables.

Use the freshest broccoli you can get, as that way it compliments the cheese and thus creates a smoother flavour.  Omit the bacon if you're vegetarian, obviously.

Ingredients (to serve four):
  • Two large heads of broccoli
  • A small knob of butter
  • Water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Two good quality streaky bacon rashers
  • Small slice/chunk of Stilton
  • Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
  1. Chop the florets off the broccoli, making sure none of them are too big (so that they cook evenly) and leave them in a colander to one side.
  2. Chop the stalks up into small chunks and fry them in butter in a large saucepan for a few minutes until they've started to turn golden.  Add enough cold water to cover them, put the lid on and simmer for about 30 minutes.  This will make a very simple broccoli stock.
  3. For a few minutes towards the end of the stock cooking time, place the colander on top of the saucepan, cover the florets with tin foil and then stick a lid on top.  Let them steam until you can slide a knife right through them.
  4. Meanwhile, put your bacon rashers into a cold frying pan and turn the heat up to about medium-hot.  Turn the rashers once and drain them on some kitchen paper to help them go crispy.
  5. Strain your stock into a heavy-based saucepan, reintroduce the florets and add your salt and pepper.  You will probably have to dilute the stock a little with boiling water, but add it only a little bit at a time as you (obviously) don't want to make the soup watery.  Using a hand blender, blitz it in between each addition of water and check that it's at a consistency you like; personally, I recommend you leave it on the thick side so that you have a nice concentration of broccoli flavour.  Season to taste.
  6. When you serve the soup, crumble a little Stilton and crispy bacon in and give it a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to finish.

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