For a belated Christmas present, my darling aunt and uncle sent us 3 pounds of cheese curds. I spent all this morning searching online for recipes in which to use the young white and yellow cheddar pieces. Finally, it was lunch time and I hadn't been very successful. Cheese curds are most popular as Fried Cheese Curds, which there are tons of recipes for. However, after a eating too late last night, my stomach wasn't up for fried foods at lunch. Instead, I remembered a cheddar cheese soup recipe in my Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook. However, since It's been weeks since my visit to the grocery store aside from the purchase of bananas, milk, and tortilla chips (which do me little good as I'm out of salsa), I had to adapt the recipe to what I had on hand. And you know what? I really surprised my self. I was quite proud how the soup turned out. I will say, the cheese flavor is rich in the vegetable soup. Although it was quite good, it was a bit heavy on the stomach--although that's a good idea when it's cold out. I don't expect it to be a regular soup in my collection, but that's OK because we live in Florida and rarely get the opportunity for it to be cold enough to warrant eating so much soup.
I garnished the soup with some fresh parsley that my in-laws planted for us a few months ago in pots that are now seaking refuge in our garage. Then, I served the soup with toasted rosemary flatbread, making the meal a more healthy form of grilled cheese. Had I trusted my instincts better, I might have added some fresh spinach or frozen zucchini to the soup, but I didn't and will get to use those items for something else later on in the week.
I haven't the slightest clue how much the soup cost. The sweet potatoes were the ones we got super cheap early last month. The onions and celery were acquired after Christmas when my in-laws were here. Naturally, the cheese was a gift. However, surely you can make this dish on your own with aged cheese and can easily have a rough estimate of a reasonably cheap, but filling meal.
Cheddar Vegetable Soup
Inspired by Moosewood Cooks at Home
- 1/2 large onion, sliced
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 small celery stalks, diced
- 1 small-medium sweet potato, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 Tablespoons McKay's Chicken-style Seasoning (vegetarian boullion)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup cheese curds, diced small
Saute onions in soup pot or sauce pan about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and celery. Stir. Mix seasoning in water and pour into pot. Cover pot and cook about 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. (The original recipe called for white potatoes. I think they sometimes take longer to cook. Sweet potatoes seem to cook faster to me.) When vegetables are soft, add milk then cheese. The key is to have small cubes of cheese and to add them gradually so they don't clump.
Ladle the soup into a blender. (Be really careful because the blender may splatter when you turn it on. I have a silicone trivet that I cover the blender with so the soup won't splatter and burn my fingers. A towel could work, too.) Reheat soup and serve garnished with fresh herbs as desired. I bet green onions or chives would have been yummy if we had had any. Also, ground red pepper seemed to be a nice addition, too.