Vermont Cheddar Soup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 small leeks, light green and white part only, cleaned and finely chopped We used regular onion
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half-and-half (or light cream)1/2 lb. sharp cheddar, shredded
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 Pippin (or Macintosh) apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrot and celery and sauté until tender or about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for 3 minutes, making sure to cook the flour evenly.
Add the chicken stock slowly, whisking to evenly combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Puree the soup in a blender, food processor or with a handheld mixer. Strain into a clean saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
Add the half-and-half, cheese, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet. Saute the apple pieces until they start to turn brown, about 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a sprinkling of the sauteed apple(and we added croutons)