At this time of year, I seem to end up making a lot of soup. Perhaps my favourite lunch in Winter, a large bowl of wholesome soup with a hunk of crusty bread and butter is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food. This Broccoli, Stilton and Celery soup is an old favourite that I vary depending on what food I have to use up.
I’ll add in extra green vegetables and even the remains of a green salad rather than waste the food. And, if I’m trying to lose weight I skip the stilton altogether or just cut it right down. I’m not vegetarian so generally, I make this with a homemade chicken bone stock, but if I have veggie friends around I’ll adapt it and make it with vegetable stock, marigold bouillon or even with plain water.
Using a pressure cooker both to make the bone stock and to cook the Broccoli and Stilton soup is a way to cut prep time, save energy and preserve the vitamins in the vegetables. Mine is an electric model which here in the UK is sold endorsed by Heston Blumenthal and badged by Sage. In the USA the same model is called the Breville Fast-Slow. It works a bit like an instant pot and can do a host of things, from searing through to slow cooking.
Apart from the pressure cooker, I use a stick blender to mix my soups – mine is a Swiss brand called Bamix and it’s lasted for over 15 years without any hiccups.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, don’t worry. This soup will be fine – it will just take a little longer. And, you can blend the mixture in any blender or liquidizer – worst case you can just mash it with a potato masher and enjoy a slightly chunkier soup.
The combination of broccoli and stilton cheese is particularly good – even if you don’t normally like blue cheese, here it just adds a tang. Again though, if you prefer to substitute cheese of your choice – cheddar or a soft goats cheese for example – feel free to experiment. I find this recipe is spot on for using up those tail-end bits of cheese you get left on the cheeseboard after a party.
Broccoli, Stilton and Celery Soup
- Pressure Cooker (optional)
- Stick Blender or Liquidizer
- 1 large head Broccoli
- 4 sticks Celery
- 1.5 ltrs Home Made Chicken Bone Stock or vegetable bouillon
- 1 tbsp Chicken dripping or Olive Oil
- 1 large Potato
- 150 g Stilton cheese
- 1 medium Onion
- Remove the broccoli florets and set to one side
- Peel the onion
- De-string the celery if necessary
- Peel the potato
- Cut the vegetables into bite-sized chunks, including the broccoli stalk
- Warm the fat or oil in the pressure cooker on 'sear' setting (or warm through in a large pan on the hob).
- Turn the heat to medium and cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the celery and broccoli stalk chunks and continue to cook for 5 minutes
- Add the potato and the stock. Pressure cook on medium for 15 minutes or bring to the boil on the hob and cook for 20-30 minutes until the potato is really soft.
- Add in the broccoli florets and cook for 3-5 minutes
- Crumble or grate and then stir through half of the stilton.
- Blend with the stick blender and taste, season as necessary with salt and pepper
- Serve with the remaining cheese crumbled into each bowlful
What makes this recipe flexitarian? Well, as mentioned before, you can adapt this very easily depending on the dietary needs of your guests. You can even make it vegan by using oat cream or nut cheese – and perhaps scattering over a few toasted almonds at the end. It’s a great way to use up food that would otherwise be wasted and, of course, you can use up those broccoli stalks that were leftover from dinner the night before too. It’s a frugal dish to make – just one head of broccoli, an onion, potato and a few stalks of celery with whatever bits of cheese you have will feed eight people.
I make it up in batches, leaving out the cheese so that I can freeze it easily without the mixture splitting when ready to cook.
Thinking of making this recipe yourself? Why not pin it for later