Celeriac soup with Shropshire Blue and a hint of chilli

Celeriac isn’t the prettiest of vegetables but you should never judge a book by its cover as they say. Despite it looking like a close-up of an insect under a microscope (as someone described it recently over on my Facebook page), I tend to get very excited when I discover one in our weekly veg box.

It’s wonderful simply boiled and mashed with a little butter, in a gratin with potatoes and lots of cream and garlic, or grated raw in an Ottolenghi-style root vegetable salad. I reckon it’s one of the most versatile vegetables around.

But my personal favourite is to partner celeriac with some kind of blue cheese in a soup. The mellow earthy, nutty flavour works so well with the tang of a good blue cheese. Stilton is always popular but I prefer a Shropshire Blue, which isn’t quite so in-your-face and gives the soup a wonderful orangey colour.

For a little extra kick, I do rather like to add a little chilli too, although I generally leave this out when I’m making it for the children. But as I cooked this last week for just me and my husband, the chilli was most definitely in, helping to boost the central heating on a wet, chilly day.

Celeriac soup with Shropshire Blue and a hint of chilli

2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 onion, peeled, and chopped
500g celeriac, peeled and diced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 litre hot vegetable stock
120g Blue Shropshire cheese

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and gently sweat the onion until soft.

Add the celeriac and cook a little, making sure the pieces get a good coating of butter and oil.

Throw in the chopped chilli and fry for a couple more minutes before adding the hot stock. Allow to simmer for around 15 minutes until the celeriac is tender. Cool a little before liquidising to a smooth consistency.

Return the soup to the heat while you crumble in the Blue Shropshire cheese and warm through gently until the cheese has melted. Serve with big hunks of crusty bread. Heaven in a bowl…