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Cheese Soup

I belong to a group that does a potluck once a month. We have 2 carnivores, 3 omnivores, a celiac sufferer and a vegetarian. Pleasing everyone is a feat, previously only reached with banana breads - one loaf plain, one with raisin, and one with raisins and nuts. This time, I brought bread bowls and cheese soup (bacon on the side). The soup was a huge hit, and I wanted to share the recipe I developed for it.
My usual "go-to" cheese soup is a modified version of Great Lakes Brewery's Stilton Soup, but 1. I had no beer, 2. I had no Stilton, and 3. it uses chicken stock. Looking at the vegan and vegetarian recipes I had showed nothing suitable, so I re-modified my cheese soup recipe to use vegetable stock and the cheeses on hand. It's very forgiving, flavor-wise and ingredient-wise, so sub away.

Mama Mary's Cheese Soup

3 celery stalks
1 large shallot
2 carrots
1 large clove garlic
1/4 lb butter
Seasonings (salt, pepper, whatever)
1/4 cup flour
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 oz other cheese*, shredded
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Using a food processor, nearly puree the veggies. In a 4 quart pot, cook the puree in butter until soft and aromatic.** Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and other things*** as desired. Heat 1 cup stock to hot but not boiling. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies, stirring well, while continuing to cook over medium heat until starting to thicken. Add the hot stock in a stream while continuing to stir. Add the rest of the stock and the cream, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for at least a half-hour, but an hour is better, stirring occasionally. [Can be prepared ahead to this point. Refrigerate, and slowly bring back to a simmer.] Just before serving, add the cheese by handfuls, stirring well and letting each handful melt before adding more. Finish with a few grate of fresh nutmeg.
Serve with chopped green onions, bacon, and/or a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

*I had a bag of Mexican blend cheeses on hand, so I used that. Any cheese would do.
** This is where the husband sniffs deeply and tells me the house smells like Christmas. I associate Christmas with pine trees and cinnamon, he associates it with the smell of the first step of stuffing-making.
***Chili powder, or rosemary, or whatever herbs or spices you like with your choice of cheese. Because of having to please many tastes, I just used salt and pepper, adding a little nutmeg at the end.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
rowangolightly
Mar. 13th, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
That sounds wonderful! Of course, add in someone who is lactose intolerant and the whole thing becomes impossible.

I tried a new recipe for Mac 'n Cheese yesterday and was not very happy with it; too 'pasty' in taste.

I'll have to try this!
(Anonymous)
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
add in someone who is lactose intolerant

Nope. I'm too in love with butter and cream to be able to do that. It's why I can't cook for vegans either.

(Mostly joking.)
marence
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
That comment above?
That was me, not paying attention.
rowangolightly
Mar. 14th, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, I get it, me too. I try very hard to make my cooking preservative free and as healthy as possible and then diabetic friendly if needed. Or vegetarian if needed. But I *love* butter, cheese and milk.

I traveled to England with a vegan; ye gods, what a mess that was!
be4u
Mar. 13th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Anything made with heavy cream HAS to be good :)
marence
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
Cream makes all the difference!

You can cook with skim milk, I guess, but why?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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