Smoked beer and cheddar soup
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
6 to 8 appetizer servings or 4 to 6 main-course servings
The flavor imparted by the smoked beer is subtle but unmistakable, adding a layer of smoky depth to this classic soup. Unlike many creamy soups, this one is comparatively thin.
If you prefer your vegetables soft, cook them for 10 minutes rather than the recommended 5 before adding the garlic. Serve the soup with a crusty baguette or a hearty brown bread.
Make ahead: The soup can be made a day in advance, then cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat on the stove top over medium heat, making sure the soup does not come to a boil.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 1/2 cups diced leeks, soaked to remove all grit and dirt
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1/3 cup flour
2 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 3/4 cups no-salt-added chicken broth
1 cup smoked beer, room temperature
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar (about 1 pound)
4 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces and cooked until crisp
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the leeks, carrots and celery and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the flour is golden in color but not browned.
Slowly add the milk, chicken broth and smoked beer, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add the Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Add the grated cheese about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until all of the cheese has melted, making sure the soup does not boil.
Stir in the bacon, saving some to garnish individual portions, and serve hot.
Per serving (based on 6 main-course servings): 610 calories, 31 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 44 g fat, 25 g saturated fat, 135 mg cholesterol, 1,420 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar