Cauliflower Soup with Melted Stilton and Caramelised Onions

  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion. sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A large sprig of fresh thyme
  • 700g/1½lb potatoes, sliced
  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken in to medium florets
  • 850ml/1½ pints chicken stock
  • 570-700ml/1-1/4 pints semi-skimmed milk
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 150g/5oz Stilton cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the caramelised onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • Rye, sourdough or crusty white bread, to serve

To make the soup, melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic and onion and cook gently for 10 minutes until soft. Don’t let them brown though.

Add the bay leaves, thyme sprig, potatoes and cauliflower. Stir together.

Pour in the chicken stock and milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a gently simmer and partially cover the pan with a lid. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Don’t’ allow the soup to boil rapidly as it may cause the soup to split. Remove the herbs.

Meanwhile to make the caramelised the onions, heat the oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan over a gentle heat and add the onions. Stir well so the onions are coated in the oil and leave to cook very gently for about 15-20 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. If you gently cook the onion like this, it sweetens and mellows their flavour. Do make sure you keep the heat at a low-medium temperature otherwise they may burn. This makes them bitter and you’ll have to start again!

Blend the soup until it is smooth, either using a hand held blender in the pan, or in a food processor and then return it to the pan. Season with nutmeg, a little salt (you don’t need much as the Stilton is quite salty) and pepper. If it still seems a bit too thick, add a little more milk.

Stir in the Stilton cheese thoroughly, so it just starts to melt. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some of the caramelised onions and serve warm toasted bread.

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