Parsley and Cheddar Cheese Soup, with hard-boiled eggs and rice

Parsley and Cheddar Cheese Soup, with hard-boiled eggs and rice

There was no intention of going with a Parsley and Cheddar Cheese Soup right now, as my little plant, regardless of how well it’s thrived, positively shivers when I go near it. However, I couldn’t quite believe my luck when I noticed new products in one of the local stores – fresh coriander (cilantro) and flat leaf parsley. At last! Although I think the staff must’ve forgotten to display them as most of the coriander was nearly composting itself.

As for the parsley I managed to find a pack that was fresh enough to go with last night as there were only a couple of small leaves beginning to turn pale yellow. I’m so hoping it’s going to be a case of being able to buy them fresh from now on. Especially as I adore both herbs. And I’m so glad I’ve gone with this soup. Even I wouldn’t have guessed something this simple could be that good in flavour. As for the smell of it, after I’d blended the ingredients and prior to adding the cheese, the smell really was of freshly mown grass – not that I go around mowing lawns with knashing teeth, but most of us know of that spring-like fragrance. Don’t let the suggestion put you off, though. It’s just how parsley smells. And as soon as I’d tasted it freshly shelled peas screamed at me. Well, I’d scream too if I could find them. Just as well I don’t know of any allotments nearby as I’d be in there rummaging around. Not that I condole theft of any sort, mind.

When the Cheddar cheese was combined with the parsley that’s when wedding bells rang out loud. Who would’ve thought those two ingredients would make such a great pairing. I’m not kidding, this soup is going straight into my top five favourite list – even though it may have to share equal fourth or fifth place. Still, not bad for a British soup that seems to be off the radar these days. As for the rice and hard-boiled egg, as this was for my lunch I wanted to up the intake of carbs and all. Especially as I’ve ran out of home-made bread. The salad couldn’t have been much simpler, thinly sliced cucumber seasoned with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, strawberries drizzled with lime and crunchy little cornichons, the latter I just love. Oh, and a very gentle squeeze of lime over the soup with a grind or two of black pepper. There wasn’t even the need of freshly ground sea salt the soup was that good.

Parsley and Cheddar Cheese Soup, with hard-boiled eggs and rice

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE STOCK:

  • 120g (4.23 oz) x onions, halved, peeled, trimmed and quartered
  • 150g (5.29 oz) x carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 100g (3.52 oz) x leek, darker green only, split in half lengthways and thoroughly rinsed OR
  • 2 x celery stalks/ribs, washed, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 x garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed and kept whole
  • 25g (0.88 oz) x flat leaf parsley, stems only (reserve the leaves for the soup), rinsed
  • 5 x whole black peppercorns
  • 2 x dried bay leaves, split
  • 500ml (1.05 US pt lqd) x water
  • 1 x organic vegetable stock cube

FOR THE SOUP:

  • reserved parsley leaves
  • 1 x green finger chilli (Scoville rating 50,000), washed and split in half
  • cooked garlic and parsley stalks/stems, kept from the stock
  • 1 x tablespoon plain (AP) flour
  • 1 x tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 – 2 x hard-boiled eggs, to serve
  • 80g (2.82 oz) or more x long grain rice, cooked to the pack’s instructions
  • 100g (3.52 oz) or more x mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • seasoning, both sea salt and black pepper
  • lime, to serve

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add all of the stock ingredients to a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for at least 30 minutes. I do the stock the night before, switch off heat and when it’s cool enough it’s then stored overnight.
  • The following day (or same day) it’s put back on heat on No 2 just to heat it through again. The parsley stalks/stems are retrieved as well as the bay leaf pieces and garlic cloves. Those are set aside. When warmed through I then pour the stock through a metal colander into a suitable bowl underneath. The remaining veg are then squished with the back of a large metal serving spoon to extract as much of their juice as possible. The pulp is then discarded. The stock is then poured through a fine wire metal sieve into a measuring jug, with any remaining pulp in the sieve discarded. 500ml is needed so top up with cold water to get that amount of stock if necessary.
  • Add the strained stock plus the garlic cloves and parsley stalks retrieved from the stock and the fresh parsley leaves (no need to chop them) to a blender and blitz until absolutely smooth. Pour back into a large saucepan and put on heat No 2 to heat through. Add a couple of the bay leaf pieces and the chopped in half chilli.
  • In the meantime put a small saucepan on heat No 1 and add the sunflower oil and plain flour. Allow at least 5 minutes to cook out the flour. If any bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool. Pout back on heat and stir through to prevent any lumps. Do this several times, without allowing the flour to turn brown. if that happens start again. Once the flour has cooked out add a ladle or two of the soup and stir through. Then transfer the flour mixture to the soup and stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming. It’s imperative to do this flour mixture as otherwise the soup will separate when served.
  • To serve the Cheddar, especially as mine wasn’t really sharp enough, I grated the cheese and then put some of it on a baking sheet in circles and put it under a preheated grill/broiler until the cheese melted. That was allowed to cool and then scraped off and added to the soup just before serving. It’s not absolutely necessary to do this stage, but the cheese tasted really cheesy and gave a slight crunch. The remaining grated cheese could be served separately.
  • Serve with lime wedges.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


26 comments

  1. Wonderful as always Johnny. And if it’s on your top five favourite list – it MUST be fabulous. I love that your parsley plant positively shivers when you go near it. Also like that little exchange above with Mimi! Yes – as if the cooking part isn’t bad enough!! So true and so funny…

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    • Yes, I was thrilled with this soup. As for my poor little parsley plant it’ll now get a chance to grow without unnecessary interference from you know who!
      Chef Mimi’s response made me laugh. I was horrified at the soup splitting, as it was the first time to make this. Who knew? And I had taken far better styled landscape photos of…something that resembles a green oil slick of sorts. Just couldn’t use ’em.

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    • Your comment prompted me into Googling for regional British names. Oddly, nothing came up. Not even a recipe for the soup. This must be even older than Victorian, as one of my old cookery books suggests. Did find nice variations: parsley and parsnip soup (would love the parsnips oven roasted next October, then blended), an Irish version of parsley, potatoes and bacon – there’s stereotyping for you!

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  2. Excellent stuff Johnny. We are growing parsley outside the back door. My daughter’s hound has taken to digging in the pot. I fear I will never have enough to try this.

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  3. I bought a parsley plant a few months ago and it died in about two days 😦 What special things do you do to yours?
    I love your wonderful description of the funky parsley smell. I never thought of parsley soup so thank you for the wonderful inspiration.

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    • Can’t really give you advice on growing parsley, except to suggest keeping the plant on a south-facing window and watering it occasionally. I have a painters brush on my sill, and with its wooden tip I’ll check the top surface of each pots compost. If very dry I will then water sparingly.
      The flat leaf parsley really does have a strong, pungent fragrance. All good, though. Very pleasantly surprised at how good the combination of parsley and Cheddar cheese actually is. Leftovers for sups later on, with home-made bread 🙂

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      • Thank you for your piece of advice!
        I think the Cheddar probably smoothes down the flavour and smell of the parsely. Homemade bread probably makes everything taste better 🙂

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  4. You know I am a big fan of parsley, so glad you found some of the flat leaf variety, the soup is brilliant, and love the crunchy cheese addition, I can almost taste it. You know I must make this soup!

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    • – Really hope you do make this soup as I was quite astonished at how good it tastes. Although I’ve just had lunch a while back (basa fillets en papillote) I’m looking forward to the leftovers of the soup later on. Having said that I’m hoping it’ll store well. Some soups don’t. If not I will update post to include that info.
      – Yes, the slight crunch of some of the grated and grilled cheese really works. Very simple thing to do, but with only some of the cheese.

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    • You and me both, as I’ve never seen it here either. Wild sorrel, nettles and others have re-emerged of late. I get the impression that food writers here were trying to push parsley as more than a garnish last year – to non or little avail. I love the stuff, and it’s as nutritional as green veg. Can’t get enough of the right stuff right now 🙂

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  5. This ticks so many boxes. I always want to use up parsley stalks after stripping the leaves for salad, and really enjoy chopped boiled eggs in noodle soups. The grilled cheese sounds delicious. Good for day-after-Eurovision lazy dinner!

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    • Yes, perfect way of using up all of those parsley stalks! I even fished them out of the stock and blended them as well. All flavour which I’m not for chucking. The cheese was good. A tad messy, especially to clean up afterwards but worth it for its flavour and slight crunch.

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    • Thank you. Have to admit, if you were given a plate of this you wouldn’t use dreary to describe it. I was actually quite alarmed by how lurid the parsley turned out after blending. Probably one of several reasons why this post, regardless of how good the soup is (in my opinion), is one of the less popular so far.

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  6. Pingback: Week In Review: Muppet Mythbusters, Craft Beers, and Grocery Store Wars | Green Door Hospitality


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