So some other bloggers that I read have shared some of their favorite dishes. Well, I made a favorite soup of ours today and thought I would share my contribution to the culinary world. To be fair, it's not really my contribution. It originally comes from an awesome cookbook called Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen! But we've tweaked it a little bit to suit our tastes.
First, the recipe. I'll reserve my comments (and they are plentiful) for after.
Cheddar Potato Soup
~ 45 min
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups cold water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Peel, quarter, and thinly slice the onion. Peel the potatoes, and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes to soften. Add the flour and stir constantly until absorbed. Add the water and bouillon cubes, and turn heat to high.
Once the soup has reached a boil, add the potato pieces to the pot. Wait for the soup to return to a boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Turn the heat off and, using the back of the spoon, mash the potatoes into the broth. Add the cheddar cheese and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until melted. Season with pepper and garlic salt, and serve.
Okay. First of all, I say it serves 4-6. More accurately, it's enough for 4-6 bowls, depending on how big. But when we're eating it as a meal by itself, it's pretty much enough for the two of us to each have two good-sized portions. It's also good leftover. However, if I know that I'm going to be making the soup for primarily leftover use, I use half as much flour. The reason is that the soup thickens up a lot sitting in the refrigerator, and making it this way it's almost too thick for my liking leftover. If I cut the flour in half, it's not quite as creamy the first time around, but comes out a lot better when I reheat it later.
Notes on the other ingredients. As far as potatoes, I use regular baking potatoes, not the small red kind or any other variety. Also, we're talking good-sized potatoes. I actually used 4 today because the bag we bought was full of rather smaller potatoes than I'm used to. Also, while I've never seen vegetarian bouillon cubes in the store, I've been told they exist. So, if you happen to be vegetarian, you don't have to miss out on this cheddary-potatoey goodness.
The seasonings are of course negotiable. I settled on this amount after a little bit of experimenting, but your tastes may vary. The original recipe doesn't even call for anything other than pepper, but we decided we wanted a little something extra.
When it comes time to mash the potatoes into the broth, I cheat and use a potato masher instead of the spoon. Personally I like it that way, making a creamier soup but with fewer actual chunks in it. Feel free to experiment with varying levels of chunky.
Also, I use a block of cheese, and shred it myself while the soup is bubbling away. The couple times I've used the pre-shredded kind, the soup seemed to have a kind of film to it once I melted the cheese in, from all that extra processing, I guess. Which is unfortunate, because pre-shredded is of course more convenient. But we actually just bought an awesome cheese grater (our old one was cheap and plastic and cracked pretty quickly) that fits on top of a little measuring container, making this step super easy.
So, anyway, this is one of the recipes that I used to make fairly often in our old apartment, and plan to make fairly often again in this one. I really have missed cooking, much as I never thought I'd say that. Perhaps I'll share more recipes in the future. I always enjoy reading about other people's favorite recipes, and though I've never actually attempted any, I've been meaning for a while to try TJ's Deeleeshoos Noodles. (And maybe next time I'll even have pretty pictures to illustrate my recipe like TJ . . . but I wouldn't count on it.)