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Cheddar Cheese Soup

(Attributed to Iceland)

Here's a charming and savory soup that's wonderful to start a festive dinner. It's smooth and rich with nice bites of flavor and color from the finely chopped celery and scallion--and very fast and easy to make. I recommend using white cheddar, extra sharp, instead of the cheddars dyed orange--it's much more appetizing and sets off the garnish nicely. Serve hot to 4 people. It's also rich enough to make a nice lunch with rye bread and a little salad.

Garnish: 2 green onions, minced

Whisk the flour into the chicken stock and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, then saute the celery and green onions until soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and heat it with the vegetables. Then pour in the floured stock and whisk until slightly thickened. Sprinkle in the cheese and stir until it is melted. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, whisk the soup well, ladle into bowls and top with the minced green onion.