Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Cheese and potato soup
It's Boxing Day in the UK. And if you're in the U.S., it's another opportunity to hit the shops for some good deals on stuff that didn't sell for Christmas.
I'll be staying in, thank you, and enjoying some hearty winter fare.
One of my favorite winter soups is inspired by a soup I used to order years ago at a takeout place in nearby Concord, a cheese and potato soup that was thick, rich, and delicious. I once asked the owner how she made it, and she told me she used to throw in kitchen odds and ends: a bit of cheddar, the rind from some Parmesan. That might sound disgusting and a tad bit coy, but I know what she meant. My best soups are often made up of leftovers.
Here's my version of that fantastic soup, which you can rustle up with pantry staples and whatever is lurking in your cheese drawer. I've used Emmentaler here, a Swiss-style semi-hard cheese that adds a touch of sharpness to the soup. Try cheddar, Gouda, mozzarella, fontina, or Gruyère, too!
Cheese and Potato Soup
2-oz. unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium baking potato, peeled and chopped
1 32-oz. container chicken or vegetable broth, preferably reduced sodium
4-oz. shredded cheese
salt to taste
garnish, if desired
1. In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add onion once butter is melted and cook gently until the onions are translucent, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
2. Add potato to saucepan and toss to coat with butter and onion. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
3. Add broth and turn heat up to medium. When soup begins to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until potato falls apart when pierced with a fork.
4. Using a stick blender or upright blender, puree soup in batches until completely smooth. If perfection is an issue for you, strain to remove any remaining chunks of onion or potato.
5. With the soup off the heat, stir in the cheese. The residual heat should melt it into the soup. Taste for salt; I use about a teaspoon of kosher salt, but you may like less or more.
6. Garnish with parsley or chopped chives. Serve and enjoy!