Monday, February 27, 2012

ATK Cheddar Cheese Soup

NOTES:

1.  The first time we made this, we used Tillamook cheddar (from the coop).

2.  From Cook's Illustrated's Soups & Stews.

3.  To reheat:  Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, whisking frequently to prevent the soup from separating and curdling.  Avoid heating it beyond a bare simmer!

4.  For a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

5.  The sherry, cheese, thyme, and pepper are used late in the recipe.

6.  Use a Dutch oven.  A stockpot is much too big.

7.  Makes 4-6 full servings.


INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbl unsalted butter
1 med onion
1 small shallot
1 med carrot
1 small stalk celery
1 med clove garlic
2 Tbl flour
2-1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
2-1/2 cups Half-and-half
1 bay leaf
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 Tbl dry sherry
12 oz sharp white cheddar cheese (about 3 cups shredded)
1 Tbl fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
Pepper


PREPARATION:

1.  Shred the cheese (fine or medium) and set aside, covering with a moist paper towel.  Set aside.

2.  Mince and combine the onion and shallot.  Set aside.

3.  Mince and combine the celery, carrot, and garlic.  Set aside.

4.  In a Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat until foaming.

5.  Add the onion and shallot, stirring occasionally until softened, about 4 minutes.

6.  Add the carrot, celery, and garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute.

7.  Add the flour, stirring to coat the vegetables, until the mixture begins to brown on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes.

8.  Gradually whisk in the stock and half-and-half.

9.  Add the bay leaf.  Increase heat to medium-high.

10.  When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

11.  Remove the pan from heat.  Stir in the sherry and cayenne, then let rest for 2 minutes.

12.  Slowly whisk in the cheese and thyme until the cheese melts.

13.  Season with pepper--it may not need salt because of the cheese--and serve immediately.

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