A lot of you will have invested over Christmas in that
most British of cheeses, the Stilton. This blue bacterial monster will, by
January, be hollowed out and very stinky. Even the most ardent cheesophiles
will be getting wary of its powers and it’s very likely that it will have been
consigned to the garage, covered in a cloth that will never recover. Soon it
will end up in the bin… which is a terrible waste, since the remains of
Colston Bassett’s or Cropwell Bishop’s finest makes a very fine soup indeed..

Serves 10

1 onion

6 cloves garlic

6 sticks celery

100g (31⁄2oz) butter

2kg (41⁄2lb) broccoli, stems

2 litres (31⁄2 pints)
chicken stock – use vegetable stock if you’d prefer

1 litre water

Salt and pepper

250g (9oz) Stilton bits

Stilton needs to be accompanied
by a vegetable that complements its strong but delicate flavour. I will use
broccoli, but if you are feeling rabidly seasonal, feel free to use parsnips.

Start by finely slicing the onion, garlic and celery and
sweat them in butter in a large, heavy pan at a medium heat for 15 minutes,
until they soften. Chop up the broccoli, separating the stems from the heads.
Add the sliced stems to the mix, then the stock and water. Simmer for 40
minutes until the stems are soft, then add the chopped heads. Cook the lot for
a further 15 minutes and whizz up the soup into a very fine consistency. Season
to taste and add the Stilton. Stir for five minutes then serve with extra lumps
of Stilton melting on top.