Having sang the virtues of broccoli in past times, I am delighted to add another warming dish to my repertoire of broccoli delights: a comforting, warming soup to shield against this long, chilly winter.



Broccoli and blue cheese are a time honored combination but with the addition of sumac, taste buds are in for a treat. Sumac is a deep red coloured spice and an essential component of Middle Eastern cookery. With a tart, citrus flavour sumac offers a tempered, mellow taste in comparison to lemon and its colour makes it an attractive garnish. It enhances and adds depth of flavour; try it sprinkled over salads and light meats and fish.

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

with sumac

serves 4

A very quick and easy soup to prepare for lunch or supper. Serve piping hot with plenty of fresh, crusty bread and creamy butter. Using a hand blender makes this a one-pot dish but alternatively ladle into a liquidiser or food processor to puree.

  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 500g broccoli (large head), trimmed and roughly broken
  • 750ml hot chicken stock
  • 50g blue cheese plus extra, crumbled for garnish
  • small bunch chives, snipped, reserving some for garnish
  • 2tsp sumac plus extra for garnish
  • sea salt and black pepper

In a large saucepan, cook the shallots in a little olive oil until they have softened and are translucent. Add broccoli and hot stock, bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer for about 10 mins until broccoli is tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Add the blue cheese, chives and sumac then blitz to a smooth consistency with a blender. Season to taste and serve very hot (but don't boil once the cheese has been added) garnished with a little crumbled blue cheese, snipped chives and a sprinkle of sumac.