Cider and blue cheese go so well together. So well in fact that after having a little nibble of the Strathden Blue and a sip of the Henry Weston’s vintage cider I was to be using for the recipe, it almost never made it to the pan! Honestly, if I’d not had a school run to do later that day you wouldn’t be reading this now.
It was my mother-in-law who first introduced me to Stilton and cider soup many years ago. At the time I wasn’t a fan of blue cheese in any shape or form, but I tried it and loved it. I soon realised that there was a plethora of blue cheeses out there, all with their own characteristics, from mild and creamy to sharp and salty and everything in between. I appreciate that most of you will either love it or hate it, but the flavour the blue cheese gives to this soup can be as subtle or as punchy as you like, depending which cheese you use.
Big hunks of heavily buttered soda bread go really well with this soup.
1 tbsp butter
3 sticks of celery, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, chopped. Or like me a handful of baby leeks courtesy of my mum’s kitchen garden. Thanks mum x
500ml of cider
800ml of chicken stock
4 potatoes peeled and diced
150g of your favourite blue cheese
Salt and white pepper
Melt the butter in a large pan and gently sweat off the onion, celery and leeks until softened.
Add the cider and bring to the boil for a couple of minutes to cook out the alcohol. Add the potatoes and chicken stock a simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Add the cheese and stir until combined. Taste for seasoning and add salt and white pepper to taste. Blend the soup until smooth.
Add a swirl of double cream and a few snipped chives to serve (optional).