Every month, our resident Chef BigFatPanda puts together his amazing step-by-step, photo-filled posts where he and Chef Mickey show you their adventures in the kitchen cooking up Disney goodies! Today, Chef BigFatPanda’s DIY Disney Recipes brings us a classic…!
Hello! Chef BigFatPanda here! Are you ready for a new recipe?
So, I hope you heard by now that I have my own column here on the Disney Food Blog. In fact, you’re reading it right now. I am very excited and honored to have this home to share my passion of Disney and cooking with you. I hope you enjoy these recipes and my attempt at entertainment as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.
I realize it’s summer and soup might not initially sound like a good idea, but it’s one of my favorite things to eat. With all the hoopla over the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival preview, I remembered how much I loved that Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup over at Canada’s Le Cellier restaurant. As I re-imagined the velvety, creamy, cheesy goodness and bacon overtones, the whole summer soup argument was over. Soup won!
CANADIAN CHEDDAR CHEESE SOUP (Le Cellier)
As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my banter.
Interesting fact: Disney has published at least 2 varying versions of this recipe. I made it years ago from a Disney cookbook (whose name escapes me), but this version is much easier and did, in fact, yield the same results. It’s exactly what you get when you walk up to that little festival booth with “Peachy Vigor” awaiting your small dose of cheddar ecstasy.
One other thing worth mentioning before we get serious: sometimes Hidden Mickeys show up when you least expect them…Just sayin…
YOU WILL NEED
¼ pound of Smoked Bacon (finely chopped)
1 Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
½ cup Celery (finely chopped)
½ cup Carrot (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
3 cups of Whole Milk (scalded)
2 cups of Chicken Stock (scalded)
12 ounces of Grated or Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
3 dashes of Hot Sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup Beer (Dark Ale preferred)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives for garnish
Those of you who follow the column regularly will know how I feel about ingredients, but it pays to repeat it here for new readers: Do not let the ingredients intimidate you. If you are unable to find white cheddar, go with yellow. If you don’t have a dark beer, go with a lighter one. Will there be flavor variations? Of course, but I always think it is better to COOK than NOT TO COOK!
Some of the ingredients are to be “Scalded” as per our list. So, prior to cooking, I took the Milk and Chicken Stock out back and gave it to them good! “How dare you look at me like that!!!”
Alright, I know it’s not “Scolded,” but this is a cheesy recipe and that was some cheesy comedy I couldn’t pass on. Before I explain what scalding is, let me tell you that I found it unnecessary. As long as your ingredients are room temperature and not cold, you will be fine. I know this because Disney’s other published version of this recipe does not call for scalding and I have successfully made it that way.
Scalding milk is to bring it to an “almost” boil to keep the proteins from forming on the surface and keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Let’s prepare our Bacon and Vegetables as we will be using them first. How can we finely chop bacon? Let’s face it, bacon is slimy and doesn’t cut very well. It would stick to the blades of a food processor or a chopper. We need to freeze it for a little while — so put the bacon in the freezer until it is almost frozen, or freeze it and allow it to partially thaw. This puts it into a state where we can cut it finely with some good sharp scissors without much hassle. It’s just time consuming. I am open to other suggestions or ideas. You can’t cook it first or use anything like bits that are not fresh. I do have to thank my Mom for the freezing suggestion as I was seriously perplexed at how to finely chop bacon. I was!
I really suggest getting one of these small food choppers for vegetables. I think this one cost $19.95 and I have used it so often.
I cut the carrots and onion into large chunks and let the chopper do the rest. The celery is not a good chopper candidate because of its stringy makeup, but it’s easy enough to slice thin. Mickey did help me and was very proud of our vegetable preparations.
1. Saute’ the bacon in large, heavy-bottom, non-reactive soup pot over medium heat until wilted but not browned.
A non-reactive pot is simply one that will not react with acids. Glass or stainless steel, as I used, is best. A non-damaged nonstick coated pot could be used with little interference if nothing else is available.
Regarding the bacon, I’d like you to “go rogue.” Cook it until it’s browned and almost crisp — ignoring the recipe. I’ll explain in the next step.
2. Add Onion, Celery, and Carrots and cook until onions are translucent and bacon has crisped.
At this point, it’s a party! The aromatics will start to smell wonderful in this bacon and veggie concoction you’ve got going. MMMmmm.
The addition of the vegetables brings so much natural moisture that getting the bacon to a “crisp” was almost impossible. It was steamy and moist at this point. I surmise that Disney is cooking in an industrial sized pot with a much larger bottom allowing the bacon to crisp on the pots surface area. In the home environment, we don’t have that surface space available to continue the crisping process as the veggies take over that space. So, I would just crisp that bacon more in the beginning. You are not going to want little rubbery fatty pieces floating in your soup.
3. Sprinkle in Flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in Milk and Stock, a little at a time, blending well to ensure that there are no lumps. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Can I tell you how hard it was to take pictures at this point? Mickey was a lifesaver
Basically, what we are doing in this step is creating a Roux. A mixture of fat and flour used as a thickening agent for a sauce, or in this case, soup. It is important to incorporate the flour slowly to avoid lumps.
The mid result of this step is like a mud ball of veggies and bacon. It looks a little gross to be honest but, oh boy does it become delicious soon. I can only imagine how huge the batches of this stuff at Epcot are to keep up with the demand.
When the Milk and Stock are incorporated, it becomes a creamy liquid as seen here.
4. Remove from heat and whisk in the Cheese, Hot Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and Beer. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
It’s satisfying to see the cheese melt in and you can tell a transformation is going on.
I definitely needed to add salt but be careful not to add too much. You really want to taste flavor and not just salt. You can always add more salt later, but can never take it back.
5. Sprinkle with chives and serve
This soup is like a meal, especially with a good piece of crusty bread. It’s hearty and filling and a little goes a long way. I simply put my leftover soup into a tupperware and into the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week.
It’s a somewhat challenging recipe but I really encourage you to try it. Please let me know if you plan to make it? Please let me know if you have. What did you think?
Thank you for allowing me into your kitchen and keep wishing upon those stars! Until next time, this is Chef BigFatPanda giving you all a BIG, WARM virtual HUG!
Thanks again, John! Remember, all, you can watch for Chef BigFatPanda’s column posts right here! Who knows what he’ll make for us next month!
This post is part of the DisMarks Disney Blog Carnival, 7th Edition! To see more great posts, check out DisMarks.com!