If infants had the digestive chops, they just might forgo their mothers’ milk for this cheddar cheese soup. Quite possibly. And why not? It is so milky and velvety. Only the pleasant chewiness of the vegetables and the soothing rich broth helps remind you that you are actually eating soup. The satisfying crunch of pan-toasted panko breadcrumbs is just a bonus. Add some buttermilk biscuits topped with a little sharp cheedar cheese and some sliced green chiles, and you have yourself a wonderfully satisfying – allitertion lovers, here it comes…. – Meatless Monday meal.
Making this soup is a bit like preparing an Asian dish…all the work is upfront and then it’s easy coasting as the soup gently bubbles away. I actually had a lovely catch-up phone call with my sister as I chopped up all the veggies and the time just flew by. If no one’s available for a chat, make sure you have some great music playing and possibly even a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay.
Otherwise, it’s just a slugfest to get through all the chopping, however well worth the effort.
making cheddar cheese soup
Melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter on medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot.
Wait until the butter stops bubbling, indicating that all of its water contents are now gone, and add 1 1/2 cups (half a bag) of chopped baby carrots, 3 stalks of chopped celery, 1 large finely chopped yellow onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 1 finely chopped red bell pepper, and a little sea or Kosher salt.
Mix well, lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. All the veggies, the carrots in particular, need to be tender.
Add a 1/2 cup of unbleached white flour to the vegetables.
Mix well until the flour disappears and the vegetables are all coated with it.
Add 2 cups of milk (preferably whole milk) and 3 cups of vegetable stock.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. The soup will begin to thicken and will eventually be able to coat a spoon.
Add 8-oz. of grated sharp shredded cheese and fresh-cracked pepper to taste and stir well. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately, topped with optional toasted panko breadcrumbs. Makes 8 servings.