Winter is here — time to pull out soup recipes such as Better Cheddar Soup from my cookbook, “Soup’s On!” The best thing is that you can make it in just 30 minutes — no need for long hours of simmering on the stove.
This soup recipe gets a jump-start with frozen mirepoix blend (chopped carrots, celery and onions). But you can certainly use 2/3 C. fresh chopped onion, 1/3 C. sliced celery and 1/3 C. chopped carrot instead. It will take a few minutes chopping the veggies, but the rest of the soup goes together quickly, especially if you use pre-shredded cheese.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Makes about 6 1 ¼-C. servings
2 Tbsp. butter
1 12-oz. packages frozen mirepoix blend (chopped carrots, celery and onions) or 2/3 C. fresh chopped onion, 1/3 C. sliced celery and 1/3 C. chopped carrot
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp. flour
2 14-oz. cans chicken or vegetable broth (or 4 C. water plus 4 bouillon cubes)
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, cut into chunks (I used reduced-fat cream cheese)
3 C. (12 oz.) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Grinds of pepper, to taste
- Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook about 5 minutes, stirring as the moisture evaporates (if using frozen veggies).
- Add the thyme, bay leaf and flour. Stir to evenly blend in the flour while the mixture cooks for a few minutes.
- Add the broth and bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally with a wire whisk to keep the vegetables and flour from sticking on the bottom of pan, about 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the cream cheese in chunks, and shred the cheddar, if necessary.
- When the soup mixture has thickened, turn the heat to medium-low and whisk in the cream cheese, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes as the cream cheese melts. Then remove the soup from the stove and whisk in the cheddar cheese until smooth. Add pepper to taste. Serve as is, or puree in the blender for a smooth texture. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Options: Add 1-2 C. diced cooked potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli or other favorite vegetables, before adding the cream cheese and cheddar.
— “Soup’s On!” by Valerie Phillips (Covenant Communications, 2012)