Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Crispy Vegetable and Cheddar Soup

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  This soup is easy, low calorie, and wonderfully colorful—the perfect combo for these last (we hope!) gray days of winter. The recipe is flexible and forgiving. Don’t worry about the amounts of the veggies—if your carrots overflow the measuring cup, toss them in anyway!

It might seem odd that prepared mustard and mustard powder can be used interchangeably, but I’ve made the soup both ways and both work. A green bell pepper will add a spot of color and a slightly different taste than a red or yellow pepper; use what you like or have on hand. We use regular Cheddar because that’s usually in our fridge, but sharp Cheddar is tasty, too.

Serve with a green salad and fresh bread or rolls.

Crispy Vegetable and Cheddar Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced carrot (about 4 carrots)
½ cup each diced bell pepper, celery, and white or yellow onion
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon powdered mustard OR 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups low-fat or non-fat milk
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)

In a small stockpot or 3 quart pan, melt the butter over medium-high until it begins to bubble. Add the carrot, bell pepper, celery, and onion, stirring occasionally and cooking until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, mustard, red pepper flakes, and salt, and stir quickly to coat the vegetables. Cook, uncovered, stirring continuously, for another minute. Gradually stir in the milk and broth and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cheese and stir until melted and soup thickens.

Serve immediately, sprinkling bowls with parsley.

Serves 4. Leftovers reheat nicely.

From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and is now nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

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  1. It looks very pretty and undoubtedly tastes the same!

    1. Thanks -- the colors are so welcome as spring begins to hint at its arrival!

  2. Looks yummy. So tired of just BROCCOLI or sometimes Cauliflower cheddar soup. Nice change up. Would be good to sip and read a cozy mystery-like yours 😁

    1. Thanks! And I didn't even think of this when I put up this recipe, but the food theme for this summer's Spice Shop mystery, The Solace of Bay Leaves, is SOUP!