Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just Say Cheese

Last night for dinner, I made White Cheddar Cheese Soup.  It  has a robust cheese flavor  with just a hint of spiciness. I set a bottle of Tabasco on the table just in case someone wants a spicier  flavor.  Most cheese soup recipes call for ale, but I have found using lager enhances the cheese flavor.  However, if you prefer ale, use it.

A bowl of this soup served with bread  (I use homemade  Soft Pretzels)  and a salad make a nice quick and satisfying meal.

White Cheddar Cheese Soup

¼ pound smoked bacon finely chopped
1 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic minced
1/4  cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more if needed after tasting
1-quart chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1-cup heavy cream
14 ounces shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup lager or ale
Fresh chives snipped


1.   In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat cook the bacon until limp but not brown.
2.   Add the onion, carrots, celery and salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally or until vegetables begin to soften and bacon is crisp.  Add garlic and cook till fragrant.
3.   Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 2 to 3 minutes stirring constantly.
4.   Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the  bay leaf.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
5.   Remove the bay leaf.  Stir in the heavy cream. 
6.   Remove the soup from the heat. Either with an immersion blender or a conventional blender puree the soup mixture. If using a conventional blender process in small batches.
7.   If using a conventional blender, return the soup to the pot.  Gradually whisk the cheese into the soup, one small handful at a time.  Do not add more cheese until the prior handful has melted.
8.   Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, white pepper, and lager. 
9.   Taste the soup and add more salt if needed.  If the soup needs heating return to a low heat until warmed through.
10.    Top bowls of soup with a pinch of fresh-snipped chives.

Makes 6 servings

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