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September 20, 2011

Recipe for Irish blue cheese and tomato soup


My friend Lucia grew up on a farm in Ireland, where her parents still live, and on her last visit home she picked up a small, locally produced soup cookbook for me. The Irish know plenty about soup; it's a mainstay of their diet in blustery cold winters, a pub favorite, and an economical and nutritious way to use what's at hand. The recipes in this book feature the best of Ireland's produce (potatoes), fish (salmon) and cheese. This recipe for blue cheese and tomato soup calls for Cashel Blue, an Irish farmhouse cheese, and while I probably could have tracked it down by driving all over the state of Rhode Island, I opted for our own wonderful Great Hill Blue, made in Massachusetts. The soup glides down your throat, soft and creamy and satisfying. Add a hunk of brown bread and a pint of ale, with some sliced apples for dessert.

Irish blue cheese and tomato soup

Adapted from Best of Irish Soups by Eileen O'Driscoll, this recipe, originally published as Rock of Cashel Soup, serves 6.


8 large ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half, seeds removed
Olive oil
6 oz bacon
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 large stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken stock, heated
10 oz mild blue cheese
2/3 cup organic half-and-half (or cream)
Fresh black pepper and chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub a bit of olive oil on your hands, and coat each of the tomato halves. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and chop the tomatoes roughly in a food processor or by hand.

In the bottom of your soup pot, cook the bacon over low heat until it's as crisp as you like it. Remove the bacon onto a plate covered with paper towel, and set aside.

Over low heat, add the butter into the pot, along with the onion, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour, and mix well until it's completely incorporated with the butter in the pot. Pour in the heated chicken stock, and stir well until the stock thickens slightly.

Crumble the cheese into the pot, and add the chopped tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil, stirring to help melt the cheese. Remove the pot from heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. (Or, let the soup cool slightly, and process in batches in a blender or food processor; then, return the soup to the pot.)

Return the pot to the stove, and over low heat stir in the half-and-half. Cook for one minute, until the soup is hot but not yet at the simmer.

Roughly chop the bacon. Serve the soup in individual bowls, topped with bacon. Sprinkle with black pepper and chopped parsley, if you wish.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: Nicole | September 20, 2011 at 01:50 PM

I just came home from Oregon with three different types of blue cheese from Rogue Creamery in an ice chest! Just reading through the ingredients list, I know this soup will be a winner. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Melanie Golden | September 20, 2011 at 02:22 PM

Ooh delicious!

Posted by: Lydia | September 20, 2011 at 08:40 PM

Nicole, what a perfect souvenir -- cheese! I love it. And you'll love this soup, too.

Melanie, ooh yes.

Posted by: Kalyn | September 20, 2011 at 08:46 PM

I rarely say OMG, but it does seem appropriate for this soup. I can tell I love the flavors here.

Posted by: Lydia | September 20, 2011 at 08:49 PM

Kalyn, this soup falls into the "special treat" category for me, but I confess that I did hide a small container of it in the freezer for a day when I've earned a treat.

Posted by: susan from food blogga | September 20, 2011 at 08:50 PM

I can't believe there's an entire book on Irish soups! What a hearty, belly-filler this one is, Lydia. And I love the bacon scattered on top!

Posted by: Lydia | September 20, 2011 at 08:55 PM

Susan, there is (published in Ireland), and I've made another soup from it that I'll post next week. Of course, I veered off from the original recipe quite a bit, but the inspiration came from this book. I've found several more recipes that really call to me.

Posted by: kellypea | September 21, 2011 at 01:23 PM

I've been drooling over this recipe since you posted it the other day, and have to make it sans the Irish blue cheese. I have some tomatoes in the freezer a friend shared, so it will be interesting to see how those work in this. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by: Lydia | September 21, 2011 at 07:54 PM

Kellypea, this is a glorious soup. I'm testing some of the finished soup in the freezer now. It's hidden away for me to discover on a cold day this Fall.

Posted by: Cookin' Canuck | September 22, 2011 at 12:30 AM

Oh Lydia, this soup looks so smooth and creamy. Tomatoes and blue cheese are a wonderful combination of flavors.

Posted by: Kate | September 22, 2011 at 02:12 AM

Great - another tomato soup recipe! I have a basket of (red) plum tomatoes on the counter.... will have to use a french 'bleu' tho....

Posted by: Lu Hamlin | September 30, 2011 at 07:02 AM

Good morning Lydia. I've written you before to let you know how much I love your blogs. I've tried many of the soups you post, and I, like you, could eat soup every day.
When you mentioned Best of Irish Soups by Eileen O'Driscoll, I knew it was a book I wanted in my library so I contacted because I thought it might be out of print and they are remarkable in getting older books. No problem at all and for all of $. 99 I received this lovely little book. Also in the shipment, I ordered some other books, one of which I think you may be interested in buying for your soup library. It's called The Complete Books of Soups & Stews by Bernard Clayton, Jr. just a fabulous book and it might have cost me all of $2.99 if it wasn't in the 99 cent category. Just a heads up from a devoted reader.

Posted by: Lydia | September 30, 2011 at 07:07 AM

Cookin' Canuck, this is a once-in-a-while soup, great for weekends or parties, or for anyone who loves blue cheese as much as I do!

Kate, great way to use some of those tomatoes.

Lu, I'm so glad you found this book. I've marked several recipes to try. Thanks for the recommendation of Bernard Clayton's book, too. I can't resist adding that one to my soup cookbook library!

Posted by: kellypea | October 3, 2011 at 08:53 PM

Okay. Confirmed. Fabulous recipe, Lydia. I did cheat a bit due to what was in the pantry (hee!) but very nice. Left over is also nice...

Posted by: Lydia | October 3, 2011 at 08:57 PM

Kelly, so glad you made it work for you (soup is all about adaptation, isn't it?). By the way, freezing this soup did not work at all, so be sure to keep your leftovers in the fridge. (Leftovers? What leftovers?)

Posted by: Marietta Carmody | October 13, 2011 at 08:22 PM

What about the tomato skins? I assume I should remove them after roasting? Also, can you be a little more specific on the size of the tomatoes? Sorry to be such a stickler for details. :)

Posted by: Lydia | October 13, 2011 at 08:42 PM

Marietta, I didn't remove the skins (I almost never do). As the soup is blended, the skins will blend right in. You don't need to worry about exact proportions when making soup, so just buy the largest plum tomatoes you can find.

Posted by: Lauren | October 27, 2011 at 01:05 PM

This looks amazing! I'd have to vegetarian-ize it, but I think I'll give it a go, since tomatoes and blue cheese are always a winning combination. Now, to brainstorm what I can use in place of the bacon...

Posted by: Debs @ The Spanish Wok | March 10, 2012 at 02:11 AM

Yum, cheese and tomato, lovely.

You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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