Potato-Cheddar Soup With Quick-Pickled Jalapeños
If cheesy mashed potatoes became a cozy soup, it would be this. It’s rich but not excessive, hearty but not heavy, and spiked with a little chili powder and some garlic to liven it up. The homemade pickled jalapeños give this a bright tang that perks up every creamy bite. Quick and easy to make, the jalapeños are leagues better than anything in a jar, and leftovers are excellent in sandwiches or scrambled into eggs.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2limes, halved
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Large pinch of granulated sugar or a drop of honey
- 3tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1large Spanish or white onion, diced
- 2celery stalks, diced
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- ½teaspoon chili powder, plus more for garnish
- 2 ½pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1quart vegetable broth
- 2cups grated Cheddar (8 ounces), plus more for garnish
- 1cup half-and-half, or use 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- Chopped cilantro, for serving
Step 1Thinly slice the jalapeños, discarding the seeds if you like. Put slices in a bowl and squeeze in enough lime juice to cover them. Add a pinch each of salt and sugar. Let sit at room temperature while you make the soup. (The jalapeños can be prepared up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator; they get softer and more pickle-y as they sit.)
Step 2In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery and a large pinch of salt, and sauté until lightly golden and soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute.
Step 3Add potatoes, broth and 2 teaspoons salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Step 4Using an immersion blender or transferring the soup to a regular blender in batches, purée the soup, adding some water as needed to thin it out. (The soup can be as thick or brothy as you like.)
Step 5Return the soup to the pot if you removed it and reduce heat to medium-low. Add cheese and half-and-half, and cook at a very gentle simmer, stirring, until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Step 6Top each bowl with pickled jalapeños, plus a drizzle of their pickling liquid and a pinch of chili powder, along with scallions, cilantro and more Cheddar.