Chef Andy: A Soup Fit for a Duchess
By Chef Andy Mueller
Owner, Galley 57
As Jack Frost shows us what he’s capable of, it’s full-on soup season, and this recipe is fit for royalty.
While the origin is unclear, Duchess soup is a stick-to-your-ribs, warm-your-soul winter treat that’s easy to make and showcases what Wisconsin is known for — cheddar cheese. It’s similar to beer cheese soup, sans the suds, and if you’re craving a creamy, cheesy bowl of deliciousness, this one’s for you.
There are a few variations of this recipe, and with any soup, you have an artistic license in the kitchen to make this recipe as unique as you.
Chicken stock and milk or cream are the base; carrots, onions and celery (mirepoix) are the supporting cast; and cheddar cheese the star.
The vegetables are diced and sautéed in butter while the stock and cream are heating up; a roux (equal parts flour and butter) tightens the viscosity for a smooth texture; and cheddar cheese is whisked in at the end just before serving.
The recipe doesn’t have to end there. In the past, I’ve added diced potatoes to the stock until tender and diced ham for a full-on meal on its own. If you do decide to add potatoes, cook them in the stock before adding the cream or they will take forever to cook.
As for the cheese, you can’t beat a good cheddar, but you don’t want it too aged — unless that’s your jam, then go for it. Aged cheddar more than five years doesn’t melt as well as a younger cheddar, and the sharper the cheese, the sharper the flavor in the end product. I suggest a medium cheddar aged no more than three years to yield a creamy, balanced profile and not too strong of a finish.
Try this recipe for Duchess soup and you won’t even have to tell your guests to “say cheese.”
In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add:
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
While the stock/cream come to a low boil, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add:
- 3 tablespoons butter
Add to the pan:
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
Cook until vegetables are tender, then add to the pan:
- 3 tablespoons flour
Stir the flour into the vegetables and butter until a paste is formed.
Continue to cook for three minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
As the stock/cream comes to a boil, carefully add the vegetables and flour mixture to the stock and whisk until all the flour is mixed in.
Turn the heat to low, then add to the stock pot while constantly whisking:
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Continue to whisk the soup until the cheese is completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.