Can I use fresh broccoli in the Broccoli And Stilton Soup and do I have to cook the broccoli before using in the soup, and how long do I need to cook it for?
Nigella's Broccoli And Stilton Soup (from NIGELLA EXPRESS) is made with frozen broccoli for convenience and speed. You could use fresh broccoli but it will make it less of an express dish and our preference is for frozen broccoli.
If you have to use fresh broccoli then you need to cut off the florets and use 1kg of florets only. The stems can be refrigerated and used in stock or sliced and roasted on another day. You could parboil the florets but as the florets are going to be boiled in the stock we suggest roughly chopping the florets before adding them to the pan. Add the hot vegetable stock and bring to the boil then clamp a lid on the pan, reduce the heat and simmer briskly until the broccoli is soft. The time will slightly depend on the size of the chopped pieces of floret, but start checking after 5 minutes and top up with a little hot water if it looks like the stock is evaporating too much. Once the broccoli feels soft, add the stilton, cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes then continue with the recipe.