Celeriac & Stilton Soup

Today I threw out a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce that expired in 2005.

In the spirit of new years and new beginnings I thought it might be time to purge my refrigerator of the ancient mustards and sauces that clutter the shelves and replace them with shiny new clutter. Boy was it ever time. I was rather shocked at my laxity when it comes to fridge management, expired condiments being the norm. I was also shocked at the shelf life of pickles. Seriously, it is disgusting.

30 minutes or so of pouring sauces down the drain and dumping pickled vegetables into the trash and I had a full recycling bin and a wonderfully empty fridge.

With a few exceptions.

The dettritus of  New Year’s Eve was still scattered throughout our shelves. In an effort to continue my purge, I collected the remains of Saturday’s dinner: A semi destroyed wheel of Stilton, two celeriac bulbs, assorted alliums, chicken broth and heavy cream and made dinner.

Celeriac, in case you are not familiar, is a root vegetable that very much resembles a mandrake plant from the Harry Potter movies. It is ugly, but delicious with a slightly sweet, celery like flavor and a dense consistency. It is a winter vegetable that is often used in soups and stews, but I prefer it thinly sliced on bitter greens with some hard cheese. (It’s really delicious.)

In this case however, another fate awaited the two gnarled bulbs. Soup. Celeriac & Stilton Soup is not for the faint of heart. The Stilton, for obvious reasons gives the meal a certain pungency, which is only slightly mellowed by the celeriac and cream. The soup is rich, dense and not necessarily going to make the cut for those of you silly enough to have made New Year’s resolutions involving such foods as cheese and cream. It is also delicious meal and absolutely hit the spot after a weekend full of meat and potatoes. There is a bit of heat due to the cayenne so if  that is not to your liking be sure to reduce the quantity or eliminate it altogether.

Celeriac & Stilton Soup (Serves 6)

2 tbsp EVOO
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 celeriac, peeled and chopped
3 sprigs thyme
8 oz stilton, loosely packed
1 quart chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

In a saute pan heat 2 tbsp of EVOO. Sweat the onions and garlic for 10 minutes or until very soft.  Add the chopped celeriac and thyme sprigs and let cook until the celeriac is softened, about 15 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and spoon mixture into a cuisinart. Puree until the mixture is smooth and thin, you do not want any chunks remaining. Add the stilton and mix again until the cheese is incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a stock pot and add chicken stock, heavy cream, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve with a dash of olive oil and a garnish of chives.