Cheddar Cheese and Vegetable Soup

Surprisingly delicious soup, very filling and hearty.  I used brandy instead of the sherry because I had it on hand, but it was still yummy.

3 tbsp. butter
½ c. chopped onions
½ c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped cauliflower
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 c. chicken stock
1 quart milk
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ c. sherry
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Tabasco sauce for seasoning
Worcestershire sauce for seasoning
Croutons for garnish
Shredded cheese for garnish

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the vegetables over low heat until soft.  Add the stock, milk, nutmeg, and pepper, and simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Purée the soup in batches in a blender; return to the pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat.  Gradually add the Cheddar cheese in batches, stirring well after each batch.  (Note: if cheese is added all at once, soup will become “stringy”).  Gradually reheat the soup, taking care not to boil; add the sherry, mustard, and Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces to taste.  Garnish with croutons and more shredded cheese; serve immediately.


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