This is by far one of my favorite comfort foods in the entire world. Except for Macaroni and Cheese which can never ever be replaced. Ever. I can't even talk about it... I'm getting all verklempt.
But this ranks in a close second. It's one of those recipes my Mom used to make on cold rainy days for dinner and it always warmed me up.
My Mom grew up in a really (really really really) small town. We're talking small here. Small as in there aren't any stop lights in the entire town. Small as in they recently got a 3 way stop at the busiest intersection and it was kind of a big deal. Small. This is one of the recipes from the local Catholic church's collection of recipes. These small town cookbooks are treasure troves of delicious home-style recipes. You won't find gourmet truffle risotto in there, but you'll find some of the best casserole and soup recipes ever.
5 large potatoes, diced (peeled or unpeeled, I do it both ways depending on my motivation level)
3 large onions, diced
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp celery seed
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
In a large pot, cook onions, potatoes, celery salt and celery seed in just enough water to cover them. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk together to make the roux. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly. Continue cooking milk mixture over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add sour cream and cheese, stir until combined and cheese is melted. Pour the cheese sauce into the pot of boiling vegetables (do not drain the vegetables). Stir until completely combined and cook for a few minutes. If the soup is too thick, add a little water. If the soup is too thin, cook longer until it reaches the desired consistency.
Serve with crusty bread and a small side salad.