Tag Archives: Cheese

Vegetarian Friday: Cheddar soup

I’ve seen various versions of this recipe floating around online. Most of them are obscenely high-calorie, unduly complicated, make way bigger batches than anybody really wants to eat, or can’t be accessed without scrolling through somebody’s elaborately monetized blog that takes forever to load, so as usual, I glanced at ingredient lists and photos on Pinterest and then riffed on the general idea. Ron liked the results, and he never likes cream-type soups.

Ingredients
12 baby carrots
1 small potato
2 leeks
3 ribs celery
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. flour
1 bottle Newcastle or similar ale
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 bay leaves
2 c. skim milk
2/3 c. veggie broth
4 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar

Chop up carrots and steam in the microwave until soft. (The easiest way to do this: Throw the carrots in a bowl with about a tablespoon of water, cover with a saucer, and nuke for 5-6 minutes.)

Chop the leeks and celery (note: Just use the white and light-green parts of the leeks — not the leaves) and saute in olive oil until soft. Add 2 tbsp. flour and cook over low heat until flour starts to brown, stirring constantly. Deglaze the pan with part of the beer, then add the rest slowly, stirring as you add it. Add salt and bay leaves.

Bring beer-leek mixture to a boil over medium heat. While beer is cooking, dice the potato and cook it in the microwave until soft. (I just poked a hole in mine, stuck it in there on the baked-potato setting, and then diced it, using a clean cloth to handle it so I didn’t burn my fingers. The peel came right off that way, and it was easier to cut.)

The carrots give the soup a yellowish tinge even before you add the cheddar.
The carrots give the soup a yellowish tinge even before you add the cheddar.

Add milk and veggie broth to the pan and simmer over low heat until the bay leaf starts to release its flavor. (You’ll know this is happening because it will suddenly start to smell awesome.) Add cream cheese and let it melt, stirring occasionally.

Remove bay leaves, stir in diced potato and cheddar cheese, and serve. Makes about 4 big servings.

Hot, thick soup and a heavy-bodied beer make a nice dinner on a cold day.
Hot, thick soup and a heavy-bodied beer make a nice dinner on a cold day.

This soup is especially nice on a cold day, accompanied by a good English or Irish beer.

Emily

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Vegetarian Friday: Jalapeno soup

For several months, I’ve been seeing recipes on Pinterest for something called “jalapeno popper soup.” Some of the recipes looked better than others. None of them really impressed me, but the concept was solid enough, I decided it was probably worth making my own version.

The results were pretty good. I have an idea for a substitution, which I’ll include below. (If you’ve read this blog much, you probably already know what it is.)

Ingredients

1 pkg. cream cheese (I use Green Mountain’s Greek yogurt kind to boost the protein and cut the calories)
2 c. veggie broth
2 tbsp. butter
1 smallish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. flour
About 1 c. of canned jalapenos, chopped coarsely
1 c. shredded cheddar
2 tbsp. taco seasoning (click here for a recipe)

Nuke the cream cheese in 30-second bursts, stirring after each, until it melts.

Dump the melted cheese into a pan.

Nuke the broth until it’s hot through.

Whisk the broth into the cheese, a little at a time.

Saute the onions in butter until they become translucent and start to brown. Add the garlic, stir once or twice, and then add the olive oil and flour and stir constantly until the flour browns to make a roux.

Remove pan from heat and whisk the roux-onion-garlic mixture into the cheese mixture.

Whisk in the jalapenos, taco seasoning, and about a cup of shredded cheddar and bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

Garnish with jalapeno slices and serve with crushed tortilla chips.

Yes, I basically just ate an entire bowl of queso with a spoon. Don't judge me.
Yes, I basically just ate an entire bowl of queso with a spoon. Don’t judge me.

The Pinterest recipes claim the soup tastes “just like a jalapeno popper,” which is obviously a lie, because jalapeno poppers are either breaded or battered and deep-fried. I’m sorry to be the one to break this shocking news, but soup is never going to taste like deep-fried fair food. It’s soup, not midway fare. Get with the program.

What this soup will taste like is a pretty good queso. To make it taste like a really good queso, I’d swap the jalapenos for roasted green chiles. (You saw that coming, right?)

Feel free to disregard that suggestion if you really, really like the taste of jalapenos. I don’t. I can eat them if there’s no other hot pepper available, but I can name a half-dozen other varieties I like better. (Which reminds me: One of these weeks, I need to give y’all a tutorial on cooking with habaneros. They’re magic.)

Emily