Swiss Cheese Soup
We were at the deli counter in Canada, choosing sandwich toppings, when my Swiss cousin was asked the impossible question.
"Cheddar or Swiss?"
She turned to me, confusion on her face.
"Uh, Swiss?" was her instinctive reply.
The girl making the sandwich reached into her stainless steel bin and peeled off a piece of the holey, white, processed cheese.
"What's Swiss cheese?" my cousin whispered.
Of course throughout North America, Swiss simply denotes a white, very mild, often processed cheese, with holes. However in Switzerland, there is no 'Swiss' cheese, instead there are numerous varieties from different regions, some with holes and some not. And pretty much all of them are delicious.
My guide to some of the most popular Swiss cheeses, can be found here.
The beauty of this soup is that it can be made with any of the hard Swiss cheeses, depending on your mood (or what's on sale at the supermarket).
Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a starter
175 g stale bread, cubed
1 L broth
knob of butter
1 onion, chopped
200 g hard Swiss cheese, grated
pepper to taste
roasted onions to garnish (optional)
Put the stale bread in large bowl. Warm the broth and pour over the bread, let this sit for a few minutes.
In a large pot, melt the butter then add the onions and fry until they are translucent. Carefully pour in the bread broth mixture and give a good stir. Add the cheese and cook over medium high heat until it is melted.
Using an immersion blender, whizz the soup together.
Garnish with pepper and serve.
Any hard Swiss cheese will do. Or you could mix different cheeses together. I recommend 50/50 Vacherin Fribourgeois and Gruyère.
Any broth will do as well, chicken, beef, vegetable, whatever strikes your fancy.
Be careful when pouring the brothy bread into the soup pot, this bowl can be hot and unwieldy. Ladle it in if you feel unsure.
Sprinkle with some roasted onions to garnish.