This is a wonderfully easy recipe to prepare. And better yet, it’s a soup that’s loaded with flavor. If you are concerned about the waistline, then substitute the half and half or heavy cream with 1-percent milk. Make sure you gradually add in the milk at the end or it might curdle due to the temperature of the soup.
You can also experiment with using some white or red onion for color and a change in flavor. If you want some more heat, spice it up with a little of your favorite hot sauce, or a touch more of ground red pepper. Similarly, if you don’t like heat, remove the jalapeno and ground red pepper and add in ground white pepper. Be creative and enjoy.
— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Mexican cheese soup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart plus 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound plus 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 minced jalapeno, seeded
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
Fried corn tortilla strips for garnish
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and shallots, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add flour, whisk to incorporate, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Add broth; continue stirring constantly for 4 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat.
Stir in cheese, jalapeno, cumin, chili, oregano and red pepper. Simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and simmer. Stir often, 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with fried tortilla strips and 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese.
Make 6 cups.