Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dining with Doc: Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

It has been awhile since we've visited the kitchen.

Every month I get together with a group of Disney friends. Nothing formal, not too serious, just a group of friends who share a passion for Disney. There is usually food involved and we spend the evening noshing and talking. A nice way to spend a Saturday evening.

For 2011 we've decided to try and theme our get gatherings and decided that Epcot World Showcase would be a nice place to start. So each month we'll visit a country and for the month of January we began our journey, starting counter-clockwise along the promenade, and started in Canada. For music, Off Kilter played in the background and we all enjoyed a bowl of Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.
The recipe for this LeCellier staple is found on page 8 of the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs Cookbook*. The ingredients include:

1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups milk
3/4 pound grated white cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup warm beer
Chopped scallions or chives, for garnish

To begin, you take a 4 or 5 quart Dutch oven and cook the bacon, stirring over medium heat about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. I found that I needed to cook it a bit longer so that the bacon fat would have more time to cook. Once you have the bacon prepared add the red onions, celery and butter. Saute until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
Following this, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I have to pause here and say that for me, this was the "what have I done wrong" phase of the preparation. I reread the recipe several times trying to determine if I had missed a step as I looked upon a blob cooking away in the Dutch oven. I didn't see how what was staring back at me could possibly be the same soup that I can not wait to order whenever I eat at LeCellier. But, I found that in preparing Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, one should enjoy the journey as much as reaching the destination. You can also say, "it doesn't like much now, but just wait."
So after coming to grips with the mass simmering on the stove, and hearing the clock buzz indicating that 15 minutes has passed, you then add the milk and continue to simmer for additional 15 minutes. Do not boil after you add the milk. I'll add, that it is during these 15 minutes that I am getting vigorous work out as I am using a whisk to break up the clumps of everything that preceded the adding of the milk. This is what, for me, makes things look more like a soup.

After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth. Stir in warm beer. If the soup is too thick, add some warm milk.
Serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped scallions or chives.

This is recipe that I am so glad that I tried. I watched video some time back about preparing this soup and was somewhat intimidated by the process. In preparing this recipe I did not seek any video previews. On one hand it may have got me through the 'blob' phase easier, but then, it may have been off-putting again. Now that I, Mrs. Doc and our friends have enjoyed the soup, there is a very good chance I'll prepare this again. Just as it is in the Canadian Pavilion, it was just that good!

* edited by Pam Brandon, copyright 2004 Disney Enterprises, Inc.


Stephanie said...

How fun!!! I have a group of girlfriends that gets together once a month- Girls Night In! We always have a theme, but only a few are Disney fans, and none as huge as me. Don't think an Epcot theme would fly!!

One Sweet World said...

Making this tonight! Simmering milk stage now- that flour blob was definitely a little scary! Thanks for posting the recipe and the story of your Disney group!

D.O.C. said...

Stephanie, they may not go for the Epcot theme, but they may go for it if you simply frame it as a celebration of culture. I don't know, might work.

One Sweet World, the blob is tricky, but it usually works out in the end. I hope you soup turned out great!