Potato Cheese Soup

My husband made a confession to my daughter. Perhaps he did it on purpose. But, he complained to her that since we went vegetarian, I never make his favorite soup. Apparently when we first started to date, I made this soup all the time, from the Silver Palate cookbook. I think I bought this cookbook 25 years ago in an attempt to up my cooking game, then found most of the recipes to be too difficult or not appealing. Then, when I became vegetarian, there was even less to eat.

I got rid of the cookbook, then found out how much he missed this soup. When I used to make it, it called for so much cheese, we’d have to scrape it off the back of our spoons with our teeth. This might be one of the reasons I quit making this soup, in fact, when I cleaned up my eating habits.

The internet to the rescue! I found the recipe online and so it was time to surprise him with his favorite soup again. In fact, when he found out what we were making, he did a jig. I’m not kidding.

I remember this recipe being a pain in the ass, but I’ve upgraded my kitchen tools in the past 25 years. So, here’s how we made this.

  • 4 tablespoons sweet butter
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large potatoes, about 1-1/2 pounds, peeled and cubed (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 T dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dash smoked paprika
  • 2 to 3 cups grated good-quality Cheddar cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a pressure cooker at medium heat and add carrots and onions. Saute for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. (Note: the kid chopped the carrots roughly. Chop them a little finer than that. Ideally, put them in a food processor. The kid was a little scared by the food processor and that was ok.)
  2. Add the potatoes and stir until covered with butter. Add the stock, water and parsley. Turn up the heat, lock the lid in place and get up to high pressure. Cook for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure drop naturally. 
  3. Unlock the lid when pressure drops and add the dill and the salt and pepper, and whatever other spices you like, such as the smoked paprika. (My family says I’m addicted to smoked paprika.)
  4. Pull out your handy dandy immersion blender and puree until smooth. Now I’ve read that people are maiming themselves with these devices, so I’ll add that you should set it up, THEN plug it in. Puree, leave it standing in the pot, unplug and disconnect. THEN take the part with the blade out of the pot.

The pressure cooker meant that soup was on by 7:00 when we started cooking (the kid chopped veggies when I went out for a run so that doesn’t count cooking time) at 6:25. And the immersion blender was so much more tidy than moving soggy veggies to a food processor and back to the pot.

The last step is to stir the cheese in the soup. We have differing preferences to cheese quantity in our family. I like just a little. My husband likes a little more than just a little. So, I grated the cheese in the food processor first (tip: let it sit in the freezer for about 20 minutes or so), then just put it in a bowl for people to add whatever they wanted. This was an enormous success and made cleanup so much easier when the pot that contained the soup didn’t have that sticky, messy cheese on it.

And guess what? By doing this, everyone ended up adding LESS cheese than the recipe called for.

BIG hit with the family and we will add it to the rotation for certain.


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