Christmas break was a fun vortex via Space-A** travel. It was jetlag, great weather, family dynamics, eating, shopping, presents, and then a second (far worse) dose of jetlag all jammed into a two-week period. Looking back, I loved it and am finally recovered from the post-vacation hangover that seems harder and harder to nurse the older I get.
The jury is still out when it comes to my feelings toward England. There is so much good here. But there is just so much…different. Different. I am trying so diligently to make sure I don’t equate “different” with “difficult” or “disappointing.” Turns out I’m married to my creature comforts. The longing for my warm fuzzies seems to be trumping the sense of wanderlust and adventure I am supposed to be feeling while living abroad.
But I am getting out there. Ledbury is a cute little market town about 30 minutes from me. It is full of doorways to duck into: shops, antique stores, pubs, and cafes. The architecture is quintessentially English, exactly what you would imagine in your mind. I asked a local for the best place to get a bite and a coffee, besides Greggs. (I love Greggs, by the way. I am addicted to their bacon & cheese wrap + americano for 2 pounds fifty.)
I will have to go back over there to get the name of the cafe–but it was one of the best lunches I’ve eaten here. The soup of the day was Mushroom Stilton. It sounded good…and come to think of it, mushroom stilton soup does pair well with brooding skies and damp coldness. (It seemed like it could also simply be made out of the stuff ya scratch off the roofs around here.) So I took the risk, because “when in Rome” has been my mantra. Ordering this soup felt very “Romey” if you will.
In all seriousness, I loved it. Then I embarrassed myself and my friend by asking for the recipe. And the kitchen actually shared the jist of it! I’ve made it a few times since that visit, and decided it was worth sharing.
Am I asking you to make soup out of mushrooms and blue cheese? Yes.
This is sophisticated comfort food made from locally-sourced produce. I am thrilled to put ingredients like mushrooms and blue cheese into something greater than on a salad or pizza. Finally, it is so authentic to this area. If you ever get to host any sort of British-themed gathering, put this on your menu with confidence.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaping cup of each of the following:
chopped leek with white parts
potatoes, peeled and diced small (1/2 inch cubes)
1/3 c water
6-7 heaping cups chopped mushrooms
4 cups stock
1/3 cup crumbled Stilton (or blue cheese)
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
In a large stock pot, saute onions in olive oil until translucent, then add the leeks, celery, and potatoes. Saute this mixtures for a few minutes, then add about 1/3 cup water. Cover and let simmer over medium low heat until the potatoes are soft. Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the mushrooms and stock, and simmer over medium low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir in the crumbled Stilton. With an immersion blender, blend the soup until completely pureed. This can also be done in batches in a blender.
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with leftover leeks and a dollop of sour cream/creme fraiche/plain yogurt
This was so delicious, a true pleasure to make and eat! Even the kids happily slurped it up.
**Space-A travel = When an Air Force jet releases seats if there is “space available” in their passenger/cargo sections. It is a crap-shoot whether there will be any seats on the day the flight leaves. You just show up with your bags, your passports, and your prayers. 🙂
PSA: “crap-shoot” does not mean the same thing in England as it does in the USA.
Check out some other delicious macro-friendly soup ideas: