Broccoli and Cheddar soup

Broccoli and Cheddar soup with garlic croutons and crispy pancetta
This is a tweaked version of a recipe I've been cooking for several years. I decided to spruce it up today by serving it with some croutons, made using slightly stale tiger bread fried in some garlic oil and some crispy pancetta. I made the croutons, salted well as they cooked, then used the same frying pan to crisp up the pancetta. Before I served it up I added the croutons back to the saucepan and let them heat and soak up the fat that had come out of the pancetta. I think this would probably work equally well if the cheddar was substituted for a (smaller) amount of stilton, which would sharpen the soup up wonderfully to contrast with the pancetta and croutons. If you serve this soup with croutons, you really don't need any bread to go with the soup.
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Stats

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1kg broccoli
  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped into four
  • 1.5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1/2tsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 150g cheddar cheese, grated
  • A few dashes of tabasco sauce

Method

  1. Chop the broccoli into florets, peel the stalks and slice them into 2mm (ish!) thick slices
  2. Melt the butter in a large stock pot on the hob, add the onion and sliced broccoli stalks and cook on a low heat until softened (covering the pan helps) for five minutes or so
  3. Add the potato, broccoli florets and stock and boil for five minutes before reducing to a simmer for 20 minutes, or until the broccoli and potato are cooked through - whichever comes first
  4. Blend the soup, a food processor will get a smoother soup than a stick blender, but the latter is easier
  5. Add the remaining ingredients (cream, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, cheddar and tabasco) and heat for a few minutes, not above a gentle simmer, stirring to combine
  6. Taste and season with salt and black pepper before serving


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