Hot blue cheese sauce with bacon, honey and thyme (to accompany sprouting broccoli)

Hot blue cheese sauce with bacon, honey & thyme (to accompany sprouting broccoli)Purple-sprouting broccoli is one of my favourite seasonable vegetables, and it’s just as well that it’s seasonal, ‘cos if it was available year-round I’d eat it with this sauce more often, and would consequently be the size of a house. As I’ve mentioned previously on my post about Blue Vinny tart, this sauce is the lovechild of two early River Cottage recipes to accompany sprouting broccoli – crème fraiche with honey and thyme, and hot blue cheese & bacon. It really is divine, and as well as turning a plate of broccoli into a substantial lunch or supper, it is delicious tossed through pasta (with or without the broccoli!).

Originally devised with Dorset Blue Vinny, this sauce is just as good when made with a good Stilton, or even some Shropshire blue (though the colour will be rather different!).  If you want to make this dish vegetarian it still tastes yummy without the bacon, but bear in mind that many blue cheeses (the good ones anyway) are made with rennet, which is an animal product – you may need to shop around a bit to find one without it.

Hot blue cheese sauce with bacon, honey & thyme (to accompany sprouting broccoli)

Hot blue cheese sauce with bacon, honey & thyme

NB. This sauce isn’t what you’d call low-fat and it’s not meant to be. Don’t be tempted to use low-fat crème fraiche, as heating the sauce high enough to melt the cheese can cause reduced fat products to split and go grainy.

3 rashers smoked streaky bacon
1½ tbsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp honey
300ml crème fraiche
100g blue cheese, crumbled

Finely dice the bacon and fry it in a small saucepan with a little olive oil for a minute or two until just cooked but not yet crisp. Add the chopped thyme and honey, stir well and fry for another minute or two until the bacon is crispy and the herby aromas are released.

Stir in the crème fraiche (be careful – it may splutter!) and heat through gently before stirring in the blue cheese. Keep stirring on a low heat until the cheese has melted into a lovely smooth creamy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary (some blue cheeses are saltier than others, it may need none), serve immediately.  The sauce thickens quickly as it cools, but thins out again if reheated gently and whisked.

Makes enough for four people to dunk a generous portion of sprouting broccoli, or to coat pasta for six.

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17 thoughts on “Hot blue cheese sauce with bacon, honey and thyme (to accompany sprouting broccoli)

    1. Purple-sprouting broccoli is likely to be a short season this year, although there’s lots of it about at the moment (in London at any rate). It’s been a bad start to the year for lots of farmers, with a poorly-timed cold spell leading to massive crop failures, some have even reported 100% crop failure which is awful. It’s up to us consumers to buy as much as is available and encourage the farmers to grow again next year!

  1. Oh, that dip sounds wickedly good. Great point re the full fat creme fraiche and one I would never have thought of. Thanks. This is one post I’ll book mark for future use for sure, particularly as I have a bag of purple sprouting in the fridge.

    1. Thanks Grubworm! I found out the hard way with the half fat creme fraiche! You could at a pinch get away with it if you watch it like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t boil, but with such a yummy sauce I don’t think it’s worth the risk! Sometimes calories have to win 🙂

  2. We are huge broccoli eaters in our house and I don’t normally serve this with a sauce. BIG mistake. Our lives are going to change from today, thank you! I just have to try this. The flavours in there sound just superb.

  3. This is a little similar to what I recently made with purple sprouting. I love it so much. Found out the other day you can get seeds which mean you can have it all year round as the 4 different varieties grow at different times of the year!

    1. Good luck if you’re growing the purple stuff! I did so very successfully a few years ago, and ended up with a small forest of the stuff, we couldn’t eat it fast enough!

  4. This looks totally wonderful! A while ago (a long while ago) in the early days of The Independent, a recipe was given for pasta with smoked salmon, gorgonzola and double cream. It was quite delicious but became a little cloying after half a plateful or so. I gave up eating it, which is probably why I am still alive enough to write this comment. Your recipe, par contre, stops short of a total declaration of war on the arteries: It’s gone on the list for this week, and I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Thanks for the compliment Nicholas! This sauce certainly does make one’s arteries clang when you so much as look at it, but it is totally worth it I promise you. I restrict myself to 2-3 times per year and then lie back and think about how healthy broccoli is! :p

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