This warming stew hails from the French Alps. Although the recipe calls for cheddar, Gruyère or domestic Swiss cheese can take its place. The cheese adds a rich flavor and melts into the stew, thickening it slightly. Other root vegetables such as parsnips, kohlrabi, or fennel can be added to vary the flavors. Make the soup up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerate. Reheat just before serving as the toast broils.
1 baking potato, cut into (1/2-inch) cubes (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 large)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 turnips, peeled and cut into (1/2-inch) cubes
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into (1/2-inch) cubes
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
8 (1-ounce) slices French bread
8 (1/2-ounce) slices sharp white cheddar
How to Make It
Place potato in a medium bowl; cover with cold water to 1 inch above potato. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan, and cook 7 minutes or until soft but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add leek and the next 4 ingredients (through celery root) to pan. Place a sheet of aluminum foil directly over vegetable mixture. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard foil.
Drain potatoes; add to pan. Stir in 2 cups water. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Heat milk in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around the edges (do not boil). Gradually stir hot milk into vegetable mixture, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.
Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until toasted. Place 1 bread slice in each of 8 soup bowls; top each bread slice with 1 cheese slice. Ladle 1 1/4 cups soup into each bowl.