Cheddar Ale Soup

Cheddar ale soup

Living in an area that is prone to freezing temperatures, a piping hot bowl of soup seems to make winter more bearable. Because of that, we are always looking for a new soup recipe to try. Homemade tomato soup with a side of grilled cheese usually reigns supreme in our house, with broth-based vegetable soup and a crusty loaf of bread being a close second. However, every once in a great while, we crave something more rich and filling. Tonight, I made the ultimate rich and creamy soup. This cheddar ale soup was incredibly rich and delicious. How could it not be? It is basically vegetables cooked in bacon fat, then doused in melted cheese and beer! Healthy? Not so much. But I would be alright with making this a once a year "regular" in our house. Rather than pairing this soup with a crusty bread, we decided to bake up a batch of jalapeño-cheddar scones…truly a match made in heaven!

4 slices Thick-Cut Bacon, cut into 3 inch strips
2 tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, diced
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/3 cup Flour
1 cup Pale Ale (we used Smuttynose)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups Milk
2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 1/4 pounds Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 Scallion, sliced (for garnish)

In a 4 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter in the pan with the bacon fat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add the beer and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, milk, and broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Once smooth, return the pot to medium-low heat and add the cheese, stirring constantly. Do not allow the soup to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with bacon and scallions.

SOURCE: Barely adapted from Williams-Sonoma