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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Cheddar & Beer Soup


These ingredients are pretty popular around here. To be honest I didn't love the way this soup turned out but I think it might have been because of the beer I used.  We only have fancy beer at home, and the one we chose turned out a little bitter. But if you used a normal ale it would probably be perfect.  This recipe is from Epicurious.  

Here's what you need:



2 medium leeks 
2 medium carrots
2 celery ribs
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk (I used a combination of 1% milk and cream)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 12-oz bottle beer of (ale)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (4 cups grated)
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (optional, I didn't use it)




Dice the carrots and celery.  Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks and rinse them very well.  


Melt the butter in your soup pot.


Add the veggies, garlic and bay leaf and cook for about 5 minutes over medium high heat until slightly softened.

Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour over the veggies. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes.



Add the broth, beer and milk/cream in a steady stream while whisking.



And simmer, whisking for about 5 minutes.  



At this point, I decided to purée the soup, which is optional.  I just wanted a smooth soup, not a chunky one.  I removed the bay leaf first.



Then add the Worcestershire, dry mustard and salt and pepper.



Now it's time for the cheese.  I had a huge block of Balderson cheddar and put some in the freezer because I couldn't finish it all.  Unfortunately, that ruined the texture and it became super crumbly, but it was still delicious and perfect for soup.  I didn't even have to grate it, I just ran a knife through and it crumbled completely.  



Add the cheese a bit at a time to the pot and let it melt before adding the next handful.  Keep stirring as you add the cheese but don't let it boil.



Serve up the soup and sprinkle with crumbled bacon if you like.  It's rich and tasty if you use the right beer!

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