Friday, 16 January 2015

Pooh Bear Soup

In his early years, my nephew coined the name “Pooh Bear Soup” for this simple Broccoli & Stilton creation. I had no idea why for years, until this Christmas when I made it for him again for old time’s sake & discovered the soup spoon in the old house had a Pooh Bear design on it. That was a bit of a revelation because before I knew that my head was full of sentiment derived from the classic book of Zen wisdom The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Silly me misunderstanding the mind of a child.

This is a very satisfying meal in its own right or a knockout starter if you don’t use bread. Despite the caloric content of the cheese (don’t skimp) I find it is very forgiving on the digestive tract and the next day I am always at least a pound or two lighter.

3 x 250g packs Stilton Cheese
2 Large heads Broccoli

Chop the cheese & broccoli into small (circa 1cm) pieces. This is the most tedious aspect of this recipe so be thankful it gets easier from this point on!

2 x Red Onion sliced & diced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Heat the oil in a VERY LARGE pan & chuck in the onions. Fry off on a high heat, then reduce to medium, adding in a wee bit of water to prevent burning. Stew the onions in their own steam for a good 5 minutes using the lid (the aim is to make them disappear into the soup as if by magic).

1.5 Litres boiled filtered water (or, a full kettle).
Add in the broccoli a handful at a time, stir into the fried onions then carefully add the kettle of boiled water. Simmer. It takes a good half hour to make the broccoli adequately soft so start timing.

1 vegetable stock cube
¾ tsp garlic granules
1/3 tsp nutmeg powder

Mix these goodies together. DO NOT ADD SALT. There’s plenty in the cheese. Add to the simmering broccoli by sprinkling in.
Adding the Stilton
After 30 minutes or so, the broccoli will soften considerably & alter the consistency of the pan contents. It will become more yielding with more space in it. You can therefore begin to add in, stirring all the way, the 750g stilton. Don’t rush this stage. It takes a few minutes for each handful of stilton to melt & dissolve into the mix.  

Once you are confident the cheese is melted in (keep it moving) transfer the soup into a blender using a ladle. Beware its well hot, including the steam, so be safe & don’t over- reach or take risks in moving it from such a large pan. You can leave a proportion of the pan ingredients un- blended to add texture to the soup. It also helps when you get down to the bottom of the pan so you don’t have to scoop up every last bit. Relax! Take the pan off the heat whilst blending the soup up to avoid burning.

Single Cream &
Return the soup to the pan & reheat it gently, stirring constantly. Try not to boil it at this stage. Add in 200ml or so of single cream. Serve with a nice rustic bread & butter. You can add a bit of pepper if desired but you’ll find it’s salty enough.

Serves 6

North Utsire

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