So this weekend, I'm headed to Key West for a week for Christmas. This is a tradition my parents and I started about five years ago. It's the greatest thing. When we get on the plane, it's 25 degrees. When we get off the plane, it's 80 degrees. I really cannot think of a better way to spend Christmas.
The forecast for tomorrow is COLD and 6-10 inches of SNOW. So here's an easy recipe, with simple ingredients to keep you warm this weekend while I'm laying on the beach with a cabana boy serving me pina coladas.
Serve it up with some hot crusty bread, and snuggle up to the one you love (or anyone who's willing to share their body heat)!
4 tablespoons butter OR olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 large potatoes diced (you can leave the peeling on if you wish...get some fiber)
4 carrots diced
3 stalks celery chopped
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
3-4 tablespoons Emeril's Essence (depending on how spicy you like it)
6 cups organic chicken broth
4 cups half & half (use fat free if you want, it tastes just as good)
4 cups shredded cheese (I use jack/colby mix, but swiss is great too!)
Heat a large soup pot and add the butter/oil til hot. Saute the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery about 10 minutes on medium-high until onions are translucent. Don't overcook these, they'll get some more heat/love when you add the liquid. Add the flour and Essence and stir well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth....THEN add the potatoes. If all the veggies aren't covered, throw in some water until they are submerged. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until the potatoes are still firm, but cooked. If you cook them too long, they'll turn to mush in your soup. I'd say no longer than 12 minutes. Turn the heat to LOW, and let it rest and cool down. If you add the dairy when the broth is too hot, the curds will separate from the cream, giving you a very "mealy/gritty" texture. This is a good time to go pick out a good movie, or pre-heat the oven for the bread, or call some friends 'cause you've just realized this recipe makes an a$$ load of soup! After the soup has cooled a bit, add the cream, and SLOWLY bring the heat up, then add the cheese. Stir 'til all the cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper, and add the fresh parsley. You can also top with chopped with bacon! ENJOY AND STAY WARM!!!