It is not always warm and sunny, and even in the summer, it can be nice to have a warming dish to cuddle up to. So, I have put together a very simple soup made from Chicken Stock and veg and laced with good cheese (so, definitely NOT Cathedral City!) and some chilli powder for an extra lift.
Chicken stock and cheese is really a match made for your tummy. I have used both emmental and cheddar here - the emmental gives texture while a proper cheddar adds that little sharpness.
It takes very little time to make and all the ingredients are straight out of your local shop. So, here goes:
In a large saucepan melt the butter and oil together.
Chop the leeks and the garlic and gently fry till very soft but not brown.
Add chopped potato, carrots and celery and fry gently till the celery is soft.
Add the chicken stock and simmer till the potatoes and carrots are cooked through. The actual amount of stock you use will depend on how strong you want this and how thick you want it. A lot of scope for variety here.
Do not season at this stage!
Take off the heat and let it cool for just a few minutes. Then blend in batches in a blender till smooth – for safety, start at a slow speed! Or use a blitzer.
Return to the saucepan and add the cheeses, grated. Heat slowly, stirring constantly till the cheese is thoroughly melted.
Taste for seasoning – the chances are that with the stock and the cheese it will not require additional salt.
Add paprika and chilli powder to taste.
Serve it in bowls with chunks of fresh bread.
And that is it. This really doesn't take long at all but is a wonderful supper. If you want, increase the quantity of cheese so that it becomes a little closer to a fondue.
As a complete contrast, have this either with a chilled white wine or chilled vodka.