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.
I rated this recipe a 3 star just because I don't see it worthy of a special occaion as the criteria suggests. It is at least a good solid 3.5 stars. It is hearty, rustic, filling and with the addition of sharp white cheddar or Gruyere placed on top of each bread slice, it is even more satisfying. I will make this again. I did use whole milk and rationalized that it is only 1/4 c. per svg so not at all that sinful per person. Whole milk adds a richness that skim may not. I'll vary the root vegetables next time from just turnips and celery root...although it was good just as it was. This recipe is a "sleeper"...try it ..I think that you'll like it.
I cook lunch for seniors every other Thurs, so I had to increase the batch a bit. That said, I used 3 white potatoes, 8 tbsp butter, I used WHITE pepper, 3 cubed parsnips, 3 cloves garlic, 1 diced rutabaga, 1 fennel bulb, the white of 10 gr. onions, 2 cans veg broth, 2.5 cans water, and 5 cups milk. followed the recipes up to before adding milk and let that soak overnight. then follow it the rest of the way. I got a 90 % approval.
Certainly, the flavors in this stew are subtle, but I thought they came together well - even using skim milk. Substituted vegetable broth for the water. Nice addition of the bread and cheese. The sharp cheddar gave it the only zing I needed. I would definitely make this again.
I knew this recipe needed help. Didn't have celeriac, so used a fennel bulb and threw in a couple of parsnips and some garlic. Also used chicken stock instead of water. Definitely needed more seasoning. My husband liked it. Not particularly challenging of the taste buds, but a comforting soup on a cold night.
This is a very good, hearty, healthy vegetarian soup. Don't skimp on the seasoning unless you need to for health reasons, as all those veggies really could use a little more salt and pepper than is called for in the recipe.
I only gave it three stars, not because it wasn't very good for what it was, but I wouldn't characterize it as either outstanding or worthy of a special occasion. If you're in the mood for a creamy winter veggie soup, give this a try, but don't expect it to be something that it's not.
If you can make it ahead, then do so. Like most soups this gets better the next day.
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