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Extra-Sharp Cheddar Beer Soup

You might at first glance think this soup would be time consuming, but honestly it's a very simple recipe — the most time-consuming task is shredding the cheese. I rarely buy cheese that's already been grated and this time was no exception. Go with a block of quality sharp cheddar and the flavor will really jump out of every spoonful.

Let's pull out that cheese grater and get to it!

Ingredients:

Recipe adapted from a favorite  first published on Epicurious

  • 2 medium leeks, diced

  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle ale
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb extra-sharp cheddar, grated
  • 4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Preparation:

Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water and drain in a colander. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaf with butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to coat, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, stirring to coat for about 3 minutes.

Whisk in milk, broth and beer, then simmer, whisking occasionally for about 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Now we're getting somewhere!

Add cheese in handfuls, stirring, and cook until cheese is melted for 3 to 4 minutes without boiling, then remove your bay leaf.

Serve into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled bacon (or forgo this ingredient for a vegetarian option).

Even though Punxsutawney Phil is calling for an early spring, it is still cold outside. This is a wonderfully satisfying soup to curl up with through the rest of the winter!