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Asparagus Cheddar Soup

If you prefer you can use a different type of cheese.  Gruyere is a good alternative.

6 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped, peeled celery
1/2 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp. crumbled bay leaf
1/4 cup sherry
dash of Tabasco
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of dry mustard
black pepper to taste
1 pound small fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch slices
10 oz.  mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tsp. chopped parsley

Melt butter in a large skillet over med. heat.  Add onion and celery and cook,
stirring frequently, until tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. 
Reduce heat to low, add flour and cook, stirring frequently, until frothy,
5 to 10 minutes.  Blend in the chicken stock and bay leaf.   Increase heat
to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add sherry, Tabasco,
Worcestershire, dry mustard and pepper and simmer 20 minutes. 
Add asparagus and continue cooking until tender, about 10 minutes. 
Stir in cheese and parsley and cook until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 more minutes. 
Serve immediately. 
6-8 servings.


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