1 large softball size onion, chopped
6 stalks celery including the leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans evaporated milk, regular or low fat will do
1 bag frozen hashbrowns, thawed
5+ cups lowfat or skim milk
3 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
In a large soup pot, saute onion and celery in butter on medium heat. Add salt, pepper, parsley, & garlic powder. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the stock and evaporated milk to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Then, add the hashbrowns. Simmer for 10-15 minutes so you cook the potatoes.
Turn heat to low. Cream soups need delicate heat or they will scorch on the bottom of the pot. Add the milk and cheese to the pot. Using a stick blender, blend the soup until the cheese has incorporated, and the soup is smooth. Add more milk if you'd like it thinner.
SImmer on low for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add if necessary.
Stir in sour cream.
To serve, let cool in bowl for a few minutes. Cream soups seem extra hot when they come out of the pot! Top with green onions or bacon bits.
This soup can be made ahead. It will thicken, so add milk or stock if you need to thin it out.
Serves 12. Refrigerated leftovers reheat well on stovetop.
*I haven't tried freezing this, but I wouldn't recommend it. There's too much dairy in it, and I think it could separate or loose the proper texture upon freezing/thawing/reheating.