Broccoli and stilton soup is a wonderfully tasty, comforting soup that's flavorful and easy to make. You only need a handful of ingredients, a short cooking time then everything is blended into smooth, light yet gently rich goodness.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
Growing up in the UK, it has to be said that British food was never something you felt massively proud of. I think in part that was because quality wasn't alwys there but not as many saw any reason to expect it. Thankfully, times have changed and you can now get great British food everywhere from local pubs and tea rooms to fancy restaurants.
One thing that has probably always been a safe bet, though, is soup. Whether at home or out, you'll find some great soups around the UK like cullen skink (smoked haddock chowder) and cock-a-leekie soup (chicken and leek). Various soups were a common feature in my house growing up.
The origins of broccoli and stilton soup
Many traditional soups originally came about as a way to stretch the last of some meat and worked well for the climate. Plus many common crops like root vegetables work well in soup. This broccoli stilton soup is also a way to use leftovers, though slightly more decadent ones.
Enjoying some Stilton and a glass of port are a popular tradition in the UK as a final course or later evening snack/drink on Christmas Day. Naturally, you may have some leftover. This soup apparently evolved as a way to put some to use in a different way. As a bonus was of using things up, you could make homemade stock for it with the bones from the Christmas turkey.
This is more of a theory than fact, since the exact origins are unknown, but it seems plausible. And either way, the result is both tasty, and a lovely relief to the heavier festive foods. It shares some of the qualities of other soups with cheese - wonderfully comforting, with a touch of richness and perfect for the colder winter weather.
What is Stilton?
Stilton is a traditional British blue cheese. To be precise, technically it comes in a white variety as well, but Blue Stilton is much better known and a protected origin cheese. It takes it's name from the village of Stilton in the Midlands, but apparently it has never actually been made there. Instead, stories go that it was sold to travellers there and hence took the name.
It is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese that has been made since the 1700s. Like many blue cheeses, it has a pretty strong smell. While a little salty, as blue cheese tend to be, it's not as strongly so as some other blue cheeses.
Stilton cheese has a great depth and complexity of flavor, which is no doubt partly why it sometimes has the nickname "king of cheese". It's creamy, but also crumbly. Definitely a cheese worth trying if you remotely like blue cheese.
While you can replace it in this soup with other blue cheese, I do recommend trying to find some if you can as the flavor is that bit unique.
A simple ingredients list
You don't need many ingredients for this soup, but each adds something to the end flavor and texture:
- Onion - this is a common base to many soups. It becomes gently sweet and aromatic as you soften it, giving a great base flavor.
- Potato - this helps to thicken the soup and adds to the smooth texture.
- Broccoli - one of the stars of the soup, it adds the color as well as some freshness. You can use pretty much the whole head of broccoli as the chopped stem works well in there too.
- Stock - this is your core liquid that the vegetables cook in. You can use either a chicken or vegetable stock, as you have and prefer. Or, as I mention, it would be great with stock made from leftover turkey bones. Other stocks, though, are likely to be too strong in flavor for the more delicate flavors here.
- Stilton - this adds a lovely smoothness and depth of flavor, turning this from humble to something special.
If you like, you can add a little cream at the end either as a drizzle or mixed in to give a little extra added richness. You can also add a few extra bits of crumbled stilton on top. Some crunchy croutons would also work well.
As I say, this soup is easy to prepare, with just a few simple steps. Start by chopping all of your vegetables so they are ready to go. Make sure the potato and any broccoli stems are relatively small as they otherwise take longer to cook than the broccoli florets.
Start the cooking by softening the onion in the butter over medium heat so that it becomes translucent. Take care not to let it brown or burn so you get the best flavor. Add extra butter or reduce the temperature, if needed, to help with this. You can use olive oil if you prefer, but I think the butter pairs better flavor-wise.
Next, add the potato then the broccoli and coat them in butter briefly before adding the stock. Season with some salt and black pepper, though go easy on the salt since Stilton is a little salty. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender.
Take the soup off the heat and stir in the crumbled Stilton before blending the soup. You can either use an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a larger blender. If it has become too cool, return briefly to the heat to warm through but without boiling. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve topped with a little extra stilton and enjoy while warm.
Top tip: don't overheat the cheese
Often when you add dairy like cream or cheese to soups you add it off the heat. This is because too much heat can cause it to separate and not give you such a nice creamy texture. Instead, you use the heat the soup has already built up to melt the cheese off the heat.
Storing and re-heating
You can store any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to three days. For longer storage, you can freeze the soup up to two months then defrost before re-heating. It may separate a bit as it defrosts, but this should resolve as you warm it back up.
When you are re-heating any leftover soup, try to avoid boiling it. Instead, heat it more gradually just to almost simmering. The best way is on the stovetop so you can keep an eye and stir so that it warms evenly, but you can also reheat in the microwave. Just warm in intervals, stirring in between.
This broccoli and Stilton soup is more than your average broccoli cheese soup, with a lovely depth of flavor and smooth texture. Just a few ingredients and a short cook transform into a comforting, delightful bowlful. It's a great way to use up leftover Stilton, but also one I for one happily hunt down some cheese for. A perfect soup for colder days.
Try these other comforting soups:
- Harira (a lovely Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup/stew)
- Wild mushroom soup (another easy blended soup, with lovely earthy flavors and creaminess)
- Tom kha gai, Thai coconut soup (a delicious and comforting mix of aromatics, chicken, mushroom and creamy coconut)
- Plus get more lunch recipes and British recipes in the archives.
Broccoli and Stilton soup
- 1 onion medium-small (1 onion giving around 1 ¾ cups chopped)
- 8 oz potatoes
- 1 lb broccoli
- 4 teaspoon butter
- 3 ½ cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- a little salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 oz Stilton cheese
- Peel and cop the onion in a medium dice. Peel and dice the potato. Cut the tops off the broccoli and divide into medium florets. Cut sections of the more tender stems in a dice then peel the upper part of the thicker stem and dice that as well. Discard the base and peel from the main stem.
- Once all the vegetables are ready, warm the butter in a heavy-based pot/pan large enough to hold all of the vegetables and stock over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple minutes so that the onion softens and becomes tranlucent.
- Add the potato and stir, then cook for a minute before adding the broccoli. Stir so that everything is lightly coated in the butter.
- Add the stock, and a little salt and pepper. Don't add a lot of salt as remember the Stilton is a bit salty. Cover and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat and continue to simmer for around 20 minutes until the potatoes and broccoli are tender. You don't want to overcook as the broccoli becomes less vibrant.
- As the soup is cooking, trim away any dark rind from the Stilton and crumble the rest.
- Remove the soup from the heat and add the crumbled Stilton. Stir it through to melt then blend the soup until smooth. You can either use an immersion/stick blender in the pot or transfer to a blender if needed. Adjust the seasoning with a little salt and pepper, as needed.
- Serve the soup, topped with a little extra crumbled Stilton, and/or a drizzle of cream if you like.