Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vermont cheese soup ... by Vincent Price?!?

"A man who limits his interests, limits his life."
- Vincent Price
As an old movie fan in search of interesting Halloween recipes, I once decided to research horror movie stars, hoping to find a treasured recipe from the likes of Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., etc. Imagine my surprise when I hit the motherlode - actor Vincent Price was a gourmet and a foodie! Who knew? In fact, Price authored several books including "A Treasury of Great Recipes" with his wife Mary. When I first discovered this, I knew that I had to have this cookbook and amazingly I found it on the shelf at one of my favorite consignment shops.

"A Treasury of Great Recipes," first published in 1965, is a tour of some of the Prices' favorite restaurants with accompanying recipes. The book is not only noteworthy for the fabulous recipes, but also for taking the reader back to a time of elegant dining at famous restaurants like The Four Seasons and Sardi's. The restaurants' menus are as fascinating as the stories and recipes, a true glimpse into a different era in fine dining.

This wonderful Vermont Cheese Soup recipe is from "A Treasury of Great Recipes;" Price felt that it sounded kind of "far out." I don't particularly think so, but I do think that it's absolutely delicious. It isn't an overly-thick soup like those that have lots and lots of flour and other thickeners. And, though the recipe says that this will serve 4, it's really closer to 2 as it's written (unless you're serving the soup as an appetizer in very small cups).

The only changes that I made to the recipe were the use of black pepper instead of white pepper (I just don't like white pepper, it always tastes like dust to me), and I used milk instead of cream (which may be part of the reason why the soup wasn't super-thick). But if you like white pepper and want to use cream, by all means do so. And, even though I typically use low-fat cheeses, I used regular Cheddar cheese for this recipe since the cheese needs to melt nicely for the soup and that has not been my experience with lower-fat versions.


  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 leek (white part only), chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (you don't have to be too precise with the chopping; the vegetables will be strained from the broth later)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt to taste (I found that I did not need to add any salt; the stock and cheese were salty enough)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat chicken stock to boiling and add leek, celery, and onion. Simmer for 45 minutes then strain into a clean saucepan.

Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water, stir into soup and cook until slightly thickened (you'll have to increase the heat a bit at first).

Add the Cheddar cheese and stir in until cheese is melted. Add pepper and nutmeg, and taste to see if you need more salt.

To finish, combine 1 egg yolk with 1/2 cup of cream. Mix together and stir in 1/2 cup of the hot soup. Add this mixture to the soup, stirring rapidly and cook for 2 more minutes (don't let it boil). If you wish, add 1/4 cup dry white wine just before serving. Serves 4 (very small cups) or 2 (larger bowls).


Stephanie said...

what a great find!

I snack on low fat cheese but I also find that it refuses to melt nicely into dishes. That soup looks tasty tasty

goodkarma said...

this looks good!
i don't really see the point in straining out the veggies though. why not just whip them up in a blender? that's how i'll do it.

Lonesome Road Studio said...

That's what I thought too, GK, I think that would work, might change the flavor a bit though.
I think the next time I prepare it I might add potatoes to it too, it would make a really nice potato-cheese soup.

pigpigscorner said...

This sounds so tasty! But my hubs would kill me if I make this for him. Maybe he'd change his mind with some crispy bacon on top =P

MAB Jewelry said...

Lonesome, I absolutely love Vincent Price, and that soup looks so tasty.

Lonesome Road Studio said...

The Lonesome Road is definitely a fan of bacon, pigpigs - love your blog.
MAB, I was ecstatic when I discovered that one of my favorite horror film actors was a foodie!


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