We were tired yesterday. We found out that one of us was not going to get a new great job. We hadn't slept enough the night before and had eaten and drunk too much over the weekend. It was raining. Leeds was winning at football. We were blue.
SO...blue cheese for dinner?
Actually, to be perfectly honest, we had a surplus of Stilton in the fridge and being that it's a difficult commodity to get in France I wanted to use it before it went bad.
I trawled Epicurious and came upon a lovely idea: Leek and Stilton Soup.
Now the Epicurious recipe actually looked more like a Vichyssoise/Leek and Potato Soup that happened to have a bit of Stilton added. I like Leek and Potato Soup but I wanted something different. So I dropped the potato, changed the seasoning and added a zucchini to come up with my own, less stodgy, version of the soup:
3 medium leeks
1 zucchini (courgette)
100 g/4 oz Stilton
1 liter of chicken broth
1 tsp fresh (or frozen) tarragon
1 Tbs fresh (or frozen) parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 glass of dry white wine
3 Tbs butter
3 heaping spoonfuls of crème fraiche
Wash and slice in thin rounds the white part of the leeks. Set them to sauté in the butter for about fifteen minutes, until they are soft. Add the wine and continue cooking another five minutes or so. In the meantime, wash the zucchini and cut in small cubes. Add the zucchini to the pot along with the chicken broth and herbs and bring to a slow boil. Once the zucchini have cooked to a soft stage, remove from the heat and either put in a food processor or use an immersion blender to liquidize. Return the pot to the heat and gradually add the crumbled cheese. Lastly, add the crème fraiche and taste for salt and pepper.
What I really loved about this soup was the fact that you didn't need to add much cheese to get a lovely flavour. I am a big fan of Broccoli and Stilton soup, but this soup makes me realize how much the cheese fights with the strong broccoli flavour. Leeks and Stilton marry together much better and make a silky, savoury combination. This also allows you to taste the delicate zucchini flavour underneath. It also looked lovely, as you can see here. I had planned on keeping some of the soup for lunch the next day, but in fact we both liked the soup so much we had two bowls apiece and finished it up!
To accompany our soup, I planned a nice fresh salad. "Do you want Caesar's salad dressing or blue cheese?" I called out to the Critic. "Blue Cheese!!" was the response and so, ever obedient to his whims, Blue Cheese it was. Below is my recipe for blue cheese dressing, made up on the spot and very tasty too:
150 grams/6 oz Fourme d'Ambert cheese (any other blue would probably be fine)
1 Tbs sherry vinaigre
1 Tbs olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs crème fraiche
1 Tbs water
Whiz two thirds of the cheese with the rest of the ingredients using an immersion blender with the two-cup chopper bowl. (Alternatively, you can mix by hand or use an electric beater.) If it's too thick, add a little more water. Crumble the remaining cheese and mix with a spoon.
This made enough for about four salads, which was fine because the two-cup chopper bowl that came with my immersion blender comes with a cover so you can just pop the leftover dressing in the fridge!