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Soup’s On!

During these chilly winter days (at least here in the Pacific Northwest!), I literally can’t eat enough soup. A hot, steaming bowl of goodness is the perfect companion to cold weather, and the best part is how simple soup is to make! Just throw some tasty ingredients in a pot, add some heat, and you’ve got yourself a meal. Here I’ve compiled some of my very favorite soup recipes (and a bonus chili recipe!) for you and your families to enjoy. Grab a big bowl and a hunk of bread and dig in!


Tillamook Cheddar Soup with Broccoli

⅓ cup Tillamook Butter
¼ cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
½ cup finely diced celery
¾ cup finely diced carrots
1 cup Tillamook Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup cream or half and half
4 cups broccoli

Heat the butter in a sauté pan. Slowly add the flour, stirring constantly, and cook on low heat. Continue stirring the roux until it starts to bubble, but do not allow it to brown. Mix the roux into the cold chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the roux.

Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots, and add to soup. Puree the soup in a large blender until smooth.

While blending, add the cheese and cream, and continue blending until smooth.

Cut the broccoli into florets and blanch in hot water. Immediately shock them in ice water, and then drain. Chop coarsely. Add the broccoli to the soup as it is served.

Taco Soup

1 pound lean ground beef, cooked, crumbled, and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning mix
2½ cans chicken broth (15 oz cans)
1 – 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes, drained
1 – 16 ounce can tomato sauce
1 large can kidney beans, or to your preference
1 – 15 ounce can corn, with juice
1 package tortilla chips
2 cups ( 8 ounces) Tillamook Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
16 ounces Tillamook Sour Cream
1 bunch green onions

Sauté the onion and hamburger and drain.  Add all the ingredients and simmer for at least 1 hour.  Put chips in bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over the chips.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream and green onions

Cream of Potato & Cheddar Cheese Soup

1 slice bacon, diced
1 tablespoon parsnip, finely chopped
1 tablespoon celery, finely chopped
½ tablespoon rutabaga, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 mushroom, finely chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
½ tablespoon fresh basil, finely cut
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely cut
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely cut
½ teaspoon fresh parsley, finely cut
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into ¼”, pieces
1 small red potato, peeled and cut into ½”, pieces
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup Tillamook Medium or Sharp Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded

In a medium-sized soup pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until well browned and nearly crisp.  Remove the bacon pieces from the pot; drain them on a paper towel and reserve.

Add the parsnip, celery, rutabaga, mushroom, and shallot to the pot and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for an additional minute.

Add the broth, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, pepper, salt, and russet potato and bring the entire mixture to a slight simmer.  Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes over medium heat.

With a potato masher, mash the softened vegetables until there are no more large pieces and the soup is fairly smooth.  Add the red potato and cream.  Cover the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes over medium heat*.

Remove the pot from the heat, add the reserved bacon pieces, and whisk in the cheese.  Serve immediately in hot bowls.

* If the soup is too thin for your liking, continue to cook the soup to desired thickness before you add the bacon and cheese.  If the soup is too thick, add milk after adding the cheese and bacon. Yields 4-5 Servings

Crab and Cheddar Bisque

3 tablespoons Tillamook Salted Butter
½ cup diced onions
⅓ cup diced carrots
⅓ cup diced celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
¼ cup flour
1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup clam juice
3 cups chicken broth
½ – 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
3 cups (12 ounces) Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
Dry sherry (optional)
9 ounces flaked crab meat
½ cup Tillamook Sour Cream

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaf.  Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, clam juice and chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and stir in chopped peppers.

In a blender, puree the soup in small batches until smooth.  Pour bisque through a fine mesh strainer into a medium saucepan.  Bring soup to a simmer and stir in cream, 1 tablespoon tarragon, black pepper and Tabasco Sauce.  Remove from heat.  Add cheese and stir until melted.

Serve hot and garnish each bowl with a splash of sherry, a dollop of sour cream, crab meat and remaining tarragon. Serves 6

Southwestern Corn Cheddar Soup

2 ears corn, husked and silks removed
8 flour tortillas cut into ¼ – inch strips
canola oil for frying
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half & half
1 cup Mexican beer
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
4 cups (1 pound) Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, finely shredded
1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sauce only
3 ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime cut into 6 wedges

Place corn ears on a hot oiled grill. Rotate corn until corn kernels have grill markings, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove grilled corn and cool slightly.

While corn is cooling, fry tortilla strips in hot oil until golden. Drain strips on paper towels and set aside. Carefully cut off the corn kernels from corncob. Discard cob and set corn kernels aside.

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender; do not brown. Whisk in flour and stir until flour and onion/garlic mixture is combined. Whisking constantly, add chicken broth, half & half and beer to flour mixture. Add cumin, oregano, and green chilies. Continue to cook and occasionally stir soup with a wooden spoon until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and whisk in cheddar cheese until melted. Add chipotle pepper sauce and reserved grilled corn kernels. Stir until all ingredients are combined. To serve, ladle soup into 6 large soup bowls. Divide fried tortilla strips evenly and mound in center of bowl. Top tortilla strips with tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro. Squeeze one lime wedge over top of garnishes. Makes 6 servings.

Tillamook Cheddar Soup with Peppered Bacon, Ale, and Rye Croutons

¼ pound peppered bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
½ bunch leeks, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1½ bottles ale
2 tablespoons flour
2 pounds Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese, shredded
¾ quart chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup whipped cream
1 cup dark rye croutons

Sauté bacon, onion, leeks, carrots, garlic and celery until soft. Add flour and combine to cook for 5 minutes on low heat.  Add ale and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.  Add cheddar cheese, stir until it melts.  Add cream, bring back to temperature.  Remove from heat and stir.  Makes approximately 10 cups.

Cheddar Vegetable Stew

2 cups chopped potatoes
4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon pepper
1½ cups boiling water
3 tablespoons Tillamook Butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup tomato juice
2½ cups (10 ounces) Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 can (8 ounces) small whole onions, drained

Add potatoes, carrots, celery and seasoning to water. Cover; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Melt butter, blend in flour.  Gradually add tomato juice; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Add cheddar, stir until melted.

Add undrained vegetables and onion to cheese sauce; stir until blended. Heat; do not boil. Makes 4 to 6 servings

Tillamook White Cheddar Cheese Soup with Cauliflower and Chives

½ cup Tillamook Unsalted Butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup shallots, minced
1 cup leeks (white only) sliced thin
¾ cup celery ¼ inch diced
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups Tillamook Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
2 cups cauliflower – cut in bite sized pieces
1½ bunches chives, snipped into short ¼ inch pieces for garnish
salt and white pepper
fresh lemon juice

Cook cauliflower in salted simmering water until al dente then run under cold water to chill them.  Set this aside until later.

In a hot stock pot add butter and melt, then sauté leeks, shallots, and celery until softened and fully cooked. Sprinkle flour into vegetable and butter mixture and stir together over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add cold chicken stock to the flour/vegetable/butter mixture and whisk together until well combined. Place stockpot on medium heat and cook for 20 minutes.  The soup should thicken during this time.

Using a hand blender combine cheese into soup until smooth and velvety.  At this time you can either add the cauliflower and continue to puree or you can leave it chunky. Season with salt and white pepper and a little fresh lemon juice to taste and it’s finished.

Chicken and Cheese Chili

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, diced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon cumin seed
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 – 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 – 8 ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 – 8 ounce can red or pinto beans, rinsed
12 ounces tomato juice
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2½ cups Tillamook Shredded Medium Cheddar Cheese

In a large pot, sauté chicken in 2 tablespoons of oil until opaque, remove from pot.

Add butter and remaining oil to pot and sauté onions over medium high heat until translucent.  Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and marjoram, cook mixture about ten minutes to medium brown color.  Add the cooked chicken, carrots, celery, and jalapenos, stir just to coat.  Add chopped tomatoes, beans, and tomato juice.

Cook on low for 1 hour.  Add more tomato juice if needed.

To finish, stir in 1 cup of cheese until cheese is melted.  Spoon chili into bowls and sprinkle each with the remaining cheese and chopped cilantro. Serves 6

Do you have any favorite soup recipes, using Tillamook products, that make a chilly winter day warm and cozy?

~ Katie of the Tillamook Team

Photos: Chili, Steve Johnson/Flickr (Creative Commons), Cheddar Soup, Whitney/Flickr (Creative Commons)

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