Leek and potato / courgette, broccoli and Stilton soup combo

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My two favourite vegetable soups are, unsurprisingly, leek and potato, and broccoli and Stilton… Put the two together, with the addition of courgettes, and I’m in heaven.

This all started when I decided to add courgettes to broccoli and Stilton soup. It turned out really well, adding natural creaminess (so no need for milk or cream) and extra flavour, not to mention another one of your ‘five a day’ – I’ve never looked back! Now leek and potato is a delight in its own right, there’s no denying, but I was craving both yesterday and instead of letting indecision push me into an impulsive decision, I put it all into one soup.

Essentially you end up with a delicious green soup thickened by the potatoes and with a cheeky bit of luxury coming from the addition of Stilton. This is hands down my favourite soup; I don’t think anything else can come close. If you don’t like blue cheese you could fry some pancetta/bacon until crisp, sprinkle on top and add a spoonful of crème fraiche for creaminess. Or why not experiment – perhaps you could make cheesy croutons and lay them on top. Or if Stilton is not your thing, use a milder blue cheese (such as Dolcelatte) or maybe a different cheese altogether!

Asides from being a taste sensation, it is also quick and easy to make – it should take you about 45 minutes, including chopping and blending, in total and most of that requires no input; you may spot a theme here, I’m big on minimal effort / maximum flavour, apart from special occasions of course! What’s more the ingredients are relatively cheap and you easy to get hold of. My only tip would be use a potato you’d use to make mash e.g. Maris Piper – this adds to the creamy texture once blended.

If you love the tang of blue cheese and vegetable soups, then there’s no way you won’t like it (I promise!).  Method and ingredients below – happy cooking!

Let me know if you try it out…

Ingredients (serves 2-3 for lunch or dinner  / 4-6 for a small starter, can easily be multiplied for extra servings)

Vegetable oil and butter to sweat the veg
½ white onion, finely diced
1 medium/large leek, cleaned and chopped½ courgette, cut in half then into half moons
½ head of broccoli, roughly chopped
3-4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ tsp dried thyme
1 garlic glove
1 stock cube (to keep it vegetarian use a stock cube like Kallo Organic veg – I used a chicken one though!)
Enough boiling water to cover everything
Stilton – crumble in about 50g to start with (you can add more on top if you fancy). Make sure you taste before you add anymore! It really depends on how strong it is.
Seasoning (if necessary – I only use black pepper as the cheese is salty).

Method

1)   Heat the butter with the oil to stop it burning.
2)   Add the diced onion, leeks and courgette – sweat over a lowish heat until soft and there’s some caramelisation in the bottom of the pan (about 10 minutes).
3)   Add the herbs, a pinch of black pepper and the garlic clove; keep it whole as you’ll be blending the soup later, so no need to chop. Stir through.
4)   Next add the stock cube (whole it will melt!) and the boiling water. Drop in your diced potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are nearly done (about 15 minutes).
5)   Throw in the broccoli – no precise chopping of florets required – simmer for a further 6-8 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. You can use the stalk as well as florets, which I quite like, but make sure you dice them up.
6)   Now you’re ready to blend! Tilt the pan away from you and using a hand-held blender, blitz it up – this should take 1-2 minutes to get a lump free soup.
7)   All that’s left to do is stir through the Stilton, taste, check for seasoning and serve!

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