Soup-making is something that I just know how to do. Why? I grew up surrounded by soup-simmering and soup-eating.
Tomato Beef Barleys and Chicken Noodles warmed my childhood. Vegetarian Borscht Dappled with Heavy Cream appeared in the spring and returned to freshen Ukrainian Christmas Eve (a meatier version was ladled daily at the Perogy Patch). Mushroom with Wild Rice, Bean and Bacon, Hearty Potato Tomato, Pepper Jack and many other creations starred in Soup and Sandwich specials at the Falcon Deli.
And now, on my blog, Pepper Jack will also exemplify the simple brilliance of my mom’s recipes. Yay good soup! Yay awesome Mom!
Mom’s Pepper Jack Soup
The sweet red pepper and the heat of the cheese brighten this soup’s richness. You can purée the soup for a creamier texture. Or, eat the soup with full chunkiness and purée the leftovers to use as a dip or sauce. The puréed leftovers are a decadent dip for steamed artichokes (steam according to these instructions from A Spicy Perspective). (My head is spinning wondering if my mom and I should submit Pepper Jack Fondue with Steamed Artichokes to Food 52‘s fondue contest this week. Whaddya think?)
- 4 tbsp butter (or margarine), divided: 2 tbsb to sauté the veggies and another 2 tbsp to make a roux
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 small)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (about 1/2 of a large one)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian. No way to make it vegan, I’m afraid.)
- 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 cups whole milk (or 1-12 oz. can evaporated milk and 3/4 cup fat-free milk), divided: 1 cup is added directly to the roux and 1 cup is added with the cheese
- 6 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups coarsely grated cheese)
Add the chicken broth and the drained diced tomatoes. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat melt the other 2 tbsp butter. Whisk in the flour, salt and black pepper until smooth (this flat-style whisk is my favorite kind for roux-making). Cook for a minute while whisking. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of whole milk (or 1 cup evaporated milk). Cook while stirring (with whisk or wooden spoon) until it comes to a boil. While continuing to stir so that you don’t scorch the bottom of the pot, allow it to boil for one minute.
Stir the simmered broth and veggies into the thickened milk. Add the pepper jack and the remaining milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until the cheese is melted. Do not let it boil. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if required. Serve garnished with a sprig of parsley on top for color or with a big chunk of bread on the side for dipping.
Check out the other posts in My Family’s Food and Restaurant History:
- The Pittmans’ Restaurants
- Melty Brie with Garlic, Red Pepper and a Year in the Life of Pittman’s on 44
- Foodies in the Family
Curious about Pepper Jack Cheese and yearning for more recipes? Head over to Foodista: