‘Tis the season of purple sprouting broccoli! Someone should tell our broccoli plants though as their purple florets are only just beginning to peep through and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. Thankfully our local farmer’s market is keeping us well-stocked in winter veggies to see us through until ours finally decides to flourish. Purple sprouting broccoli is one of the few veggies still going through what’s known as the “hungry gap”. This is the period when stored vegetables and the last of the sprouts and parsnips are finished, but there’s still longer to wait until the first spring vegetables arrive. It’s a good thing then that broccoli is packed with vitamins, especially vitamin C, to keep us going through the last weeks of winter.
The combination of broccoli and Stilton is a classic one. Both are at their best in the winter months (yes – some cheeses are seasonal too!) and are usually combined in a deliciously comforting soup, but they also go perfectly in quiches or tarts. I’ve really pared back the effort here – as much as I love the ritual of a long, slow recipe, we all sometimes just want something simple but still nourishing. The broccoli can be pan-fried in a generous knob of butter or steamed to give a slightly healthier result. It is then smothered in a creamy white sauce with Stilton melted into it. Top it with cracked black pepper and feel your day get just that bit more luxurious.
When I took these photos, we also had some leftover steak that I cooked up with the broccoli and had for a simple lunch, but really this recipe is all about the broccoli and stilton. It works really well as a side to go with roast beef though or a yummy meaty pie.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Stilton Sauce Recipe
Serves 2 as a side
- Small bunch purple sprouting broccoli
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 25g salted butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- About 1/2 pint milk
- Stilton to taste
- Black pepper to season
- Soften two thirds of the butter in a saucepan. When melted, add the flour to make a roux and stir until you have a dry, lumpy texture. Continue to cook for a few minutes.
- Gradually add milk to the roux and whisk to get out any lumps. When you have a creamy consistency, add Stilton and taste until you get the desired amount. Keep warm, taking care that your sauce doesn’t burn.
- Soften a third of the butter in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the purple sprouting broccoli and sauté for 4-5 minutes or until tender.
- Serve the broccoli drizzled with the Stilton sauce, sprinkled with cracked black pepper.
I love to hear when you try out these recipes, so as always do tag me on Instagram @plotandlane or pop a comment below. I’d also love to hear if you’re planning on growing your own veg this year. Will purple sprouting broccoli be on your list?
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