about 50 g finely chopped shallots
dash of dry sherry or dry white wine
about 150 g peeled and cubed floury potato
about 50 g peeled and cubed parsnip
about 50 g peeled and cubed celery root
1 bay leaf
pinch of dried thyme or a couple of fresh thyme twigs
1 l vegetable, chicken or beef stock
1 l water and about 1½ tbsp meat or vegetable fumet
250 g firm, sharp-tasting processed cheese *)
Cut the processed cheese into small cubes and bring it to room temperature. Bring the stock or the water and the fumet to the boil in a saucepan.
Sauté the chopped onions in another saucepan in a little butter until tender and translucent, but do not brown. Moisten the onions with a dash of wine or sherry and cook briskly until the wine has evaporated almost completely.
Add the cubed root vegetables, the bay leaf and thyme and the boiling hot stock. Cook briskly, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, for about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme twigs. Take the pan off the heat and puree the soup with a hand blender.
Add the cheese and reheat the soup, stirring continually, until the cheese has melted. Blend the soup once more with the hand blender, until it is smooth and creamy.
Season with a dash of black or white pepper and paprika powder.
Serve the soup hot. You can garnish the individual portions with cooked, crumbled bacon, fresh or oven-dried halves of cherry tomatoes, chopped jalapeño pepper, cubed red or green bell pepper etc.
*) I use the Finnish strong-tasting ("voimakas") "Koskenlaskija" processed cheese with a 22 % fat content, made of sharp Emmental cheese (pictured on right). It is firm in consistency, but also melts easily. Here in Finland, it can be found sold in 250 gram block packages.
The "Koskenlaskija" cheese is manufactured by the Finnish dairy company Valio Ltd.
Outside Finland, you can use any sharp-tasting, easy-melting processed cheese of the same fat content.
Recipe source: family recipe.