3-5: Creamy Cheese Soup

Here’s a question for you: is cheese soup really soup? To me, it’s essentially the sauce from macaroni and cheese, thinned down and maybe dressed up with some onions or bacon. Often potato or broccoli gets added as well, in an attempt to “healthify” it. No matter what, it just seems…indulgent. I was on my own to make and eat 3-5: Creamy Cheese Soup, so I kept this one simple.

Don’t get me wrong–I do enjoy broccoli cheese soup (and make one every few months or so for work), but leek & cheese (which this one is) doesn’t excite me as much. This one was a bit leek-y for me, but maybe I just lack appreciation for the leek.

This soup on its own is vegetarian, but the recipe suggests the addition of shrimp, crab, or bacon. I think out of the three of those, bacon sounds the best, given the recipe.

Cheese and seafood can definitely be a challenging combination, but Simply Delicious has definitely embraced it before–see 11-4: Calzone with Seafood or 11-21: Baked Whitefish with Shrimp for some examples.

Ingredients. This was a MASSIVE leek, courtesy of our CSA box. If I were to make this again, I’d either use a much smaller leek or (preferably) the green onion option. I was the only one eating this and I had whipping cream to use up before its expiration date, so I chose to use thinned-with-water whipping cream to simulate the various uses of milk/half-and-half/whipping cream listed in this recipe. It worked well enough.

There was way too much leek, especially given that I’m not really even a leek fan. I could have just put less in and used the rest for something else, but hindsight is 20/20.

Melting the butter in one of my well-used saucepans.

Cooking the leeks in the butter reduced them somewhat, but there was still a lot of tangled-up mass. Not appetizing in a soup.

It got even messier when I started using the whisk–the leeks wrapped themselves around the wires and I had to keep pulling them back out.

Add cheese and now you’ve really got a predicament. It takes patience–keeping as much of the cheese and leek in the soup while keeping it moving and blending at the same time. Stir, stir, stir, knock on side of pan. Rinse, repeat.

Egg yolk separated (no use for the whites in this recipe), and thinned cream in a large bowl, since I’m working the hot soup into this bowl and I want to have plenty of room.

Poured the cheese/leek mixture into the bowl with the thinned cream and egg yolk mixture slowly, incorporating the two with my whisk. I suppose the purpose of the egg yolk is to thicken the soup slightly, giving it a creamier texture than without it.

Final bowl. I ate about half of this–it was pretty good, but like I said at the beginning, cheese soup just seems hard to justify for me. I feel like I’m just sipping cheese sauce, which sounded much better to 10-year-old me than currently-older-than-that me. It’s a good cheese soup though, if you’re into that sort of thing. Just don’t go leek-crazy like I did.

Grade: B+