My first truly culinary post is in honor of the woman who introduced me to the kitchen, my Busia. (Busia, pronounced boo-sha, is the Americanized Polish word for grandmother.) Busia didn’t teach me how to cook in the ways you might traditionally think of a grandmother teaching her granddaughter, but she did welcome me into her kitchen and let me be her sous chef – peeling carrots and potatoes and chopping veggies. And even still, my favorite part of making dinner is all the prep work! It might be the engineer in me though too – I love trying to keep everything the same size while I’m chopping.
If I had to choose just one recipe that makes me think of my grandmother, it’s her cheese soup. There are potatoes and carrots that need to be peeled and chopped along with celery. I don’t recall ever chopping the onion when I was younger, but it’s one of my favorite foods to dice now that I’ve learned the proper technique from watching countless hours of Food Network.
To me, the most comforting smell in the kitchen is the smell of onions sautéing in butter! And I think this recipe is the reason why.
While I was preparing the soup yesterday afternoon, the smells of Busia’s kitchen came into mine and I knew she was looking down on me, making sure the milk wouldn’t curdle when I added it to the roux and didn’t burn on the bottom of the pot.
I think it’s true when they say the secret ingredient is love, because it turned out perfectly.
Busia’s Cheese Soup
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 onion
- 6 tbsp flour
- 4 C warmed milk (I heated it in a glass bowl in microwave for ~4:30)
- 4 C boiling chicken stock (I did this on the stove)
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (The potatoes will break down a little bit during cooking time)
- 1 lb Velveeta, cubed
- In a large pot, melt butter. Add onion, season with salt, and cook until translucent. Add the flour and whisk until combined and a roux is formed, be careful not to let it burn.
- Add the warmed milk and whisk until combined. Add in the boiling chicken stock and the vegetables. Let simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Melt in the Velveeta – it’s best to do it in batches, making sure the cheese melts completely before your next addition. After all the cheese is incorporated, let warm back through completely and serve.