Cheddar Parmesan Soup
Sometimes I surprise myself.
I've got to admit that I've gotten pretty good in the kitchen. Almost everything I try turns out, and after that it's a matter of tweaking it to make it great. Over the years I've gotten pretty dang good at quite a few dishes. When I tackle a new one I sit down, think it through, and usually come up with something pretty close to what I want in the beginning.
That's kinda what happened here. I had done my every-other-week monster shop at the club store and had a 98 lb block of cheese to play with. I didn't really want to buid a fort for the kids with it, and I realized I also had a quart or two of homemade chicken broth, and quite a few fresh veggies. That was all it took. I pulled a bunch of stuff out of the fridge, started chopping and grating, and ended up with a bowlful of luscious. This stuff was amazing - the only thing that perhaps would have made it better would have been to sprinkle each bowl with a little crispy, crumbled bacon and a bit of chives or green onion.
Keep in mind...
Since this soup contains both cheddar cheese, which will break and become grainy easily, and cream, which will just plain curdle, don't make it too far ahead. It won't survive more than gentle heat once the cheeses are added.
If you do need to make it ahead, then stash it either in a thermos, or in a crock pot on the lowest or warm setting. If you just must reheat it, give yourself plenty of time to heat it on the lowest possible settings - keep it easy and gently.
Make sure you also grate the cheeses well. The smaller the bits of cheese, the more smooth and creamy the soup will be. Also remember that the various types and qualities of the cheeses will affect the final result as well - good sharp cheddar and quality parmesan will go miles in making this little lovely absolutely fabulous. As will very good quality homemade chicken broth. So with that in mind - here we go!
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3-4 cups sharp cheddar, grated
- 1 cup parmesan, grated
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- freshly chopped parlsey, to garnish (or bacon or green onion)
- Preheat a Ductch oven over medium heat, and melt butter. Saute onion, bell pepper, potato and garlic for about 7-8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and fragrant.
- Sprinkle vegetable mixture with flour, and stir in well, to make a roux.
- Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and allow to simmer for at least one minute, stirring the entire time.
- Reduce heat to medium low (this is where you want to watch the temperature to prevent the dairy products from breaking) and add the half and half and cream. Allow to cook for about five minutes.
- Slowly, in small handfuls, sprinkle in the cheddar cheese. Work in small batches, stirring well after each addition, to allow cheese to fully melt. This takes a few minutes, but it results in an amazingly silky texture.
- Once the cheddar is fully incorporated, sprinkle in the parmesan in the same manner, stirring well.
- Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper, Add cayenne. Serve the soup immediately, topped with the garnishings of your choice. Enjoy!
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