Broccoli. Blue cheese. Often these two foods invoke a passionate response from people – they either love them or hate them.
Depending on the number of taste receptacles you are born with, you might find broccoli incredible bitter to the taste. Others are immediately put off by the look and smell of blue cheese. I, for one, think this is a heavenly combination. The earthy and salty tang of the blue cheese brings out the sweetness of the broccoli and mixed together in a soup it makes for a bowl of complex flavours.
I hope you enjoyed the pie chef Simon Boyle cooked because he prepared this starter as well. He is the founder of Brigade, which serves beautiful locally served food with a twist. As the founder of Beyond Food Foundation he has taken it upon himself to give the vulnerable and homeless a second chance to a decent life. All of us need a helping hand at some point in our lives and those down in the dumps are given a fantastic opportunity to sign up for a apprenticeship at Brigade, where they are taught to cook and learn that they can create a joyful and meaningful life for themselves. So if you are in the London Bridge area in London, give Brigade a whirl, not only will you enjoy good food but also support a good cause.
Recommended Soup Cookbooks
- Soup for Every Day: 365 of Our Favourite Recipes
- 200 Super Soups
- The Soup Book
- The Soup Bible
- 500 Soups
This soup is pretty easy to prepare. The walnut chantilly is optional but if you’re having guests over this elegant addition will bowl them off their feet. Arrange the walnut halves on an oven tray.
Place them in a preheated oven of 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. It will take between 5 and 10 minutes for them to toast.
Remove them from the oven to cool down a little bit and admire their wonderful golden hues. Your kitchen will be emanating amazing whirls of nutty smells.
Since they’re toasted now, they will crumble easily if you use a pestle and mortar. Keep on going until you have the texture of sand.
Suddenly these toasted ground walnut become s very versatile. Just imagine them sprinkled on a salad.
Next up, you need to whisk the double cream until soft peaks are formed.
Gently whisk the nuts into the whipped cream.
Right, the walnut chantilly is ready. Store it in the fridge and let’s get going with the actual soup.
Chop the broccoli roughly into florets.
Get some vegetable stock poiling in a pot.
Boil the broccoli quickly, so that it maintains its vibrant green colour.
Once its tender, place the broccoli in a blender. Be careful because the liquid will be scalding hot. You don’t need to use all the stock. My suggestion is to sieve the broccoli out and add a bit of stock and then puree the mixture. Keep on adding the excess stock until your desired consistency. In this case we used quite a lot of stock.
In this case Colston Basset, a variety of Stilton, was used.
Crumble some blue cheese and walnuts in the centres of bowls. This way you’re ensuring the walnut cream won’t sink to the bottom.
Spoon the soup carefully into the bowls.
Add a dollop of walnut chantilly on top, add a drizzle of olive oil on top and you’re done!
There’s not need to feel intimidated by this bowl of soup. If you feel the need to make it a bit more basic, there’s nothing stopping you from omitting the cream and walnuts altogether and adding a bit of cream to the broccoli soup at its blending stage as well as a few slices of blue cheese, depending on how strong you would like it. Crispy bacon lardons on top would be a great addition.
The broccoli soup itself will remain edible if stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or 3 months in the freezer. However, as we all know fresh is always best.
- Serves: 4
- Serving size: 502.5g
- Calories: 407
- Fat: 39.1g
- Saturated fat: 17.1g
- Unsaturated fat: 0
- Trans fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 11g
- Sugar: 2.6g
- Sodium: 908mg
- Fiber: 3.4g
- Protein: 6.7g
- Cholesterol: 8mg
- 2L vegetable stock
- 2 large or 4 medium broccoli clusters
- 45g (1½ oz) walnut halves
- 200ml (½ pt) double cream
- 30g (1 oz) blue cheese
- 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- Bring the stock to a boil in a large pan. Add a large pinch of salt. Add broccoli and boil rapidly.
- Whilst cooking the broccoli, roast the walnuts in a hot oven until golden brown all over. Take out and cool, break the walnuts into small pieces. Crush half the walnut pieces in a pestle and mortar until a rough sand texture and reserve the other half. Fold the crushed walnuts into the whipped cream and season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until serving.
- The broccoli is ready when you can pierce it with little or no effort. Remove the stock pan from the stove and reserve the stock. Use a slotted spoon to add broccoli to a blender but be careful because it’s boiling hot! Pour enough of the stock left over from cooking the broccoli to fill the blender halfway. Add a pinch or to taste of salt. Use several pulses on your blender to break the broccoli up and then puree for several seconds.
- Pour soup into shallow bowl Spoon a big dollop of walnut Chantilly into each bowl along with the remaining walnuts.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve at once.