Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Creamy Cheddar Cheese Soup with Crispy Bacon & Chives


3/4 lb. bacon, chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large pimentos or roasted red peppers, diced
4 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. flour
4 cups chicken stock or broth
12-oz. beer (preferably ale or lager)
1-1/2 cups cream
1-1/2 cups milk
2-1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated Colby cheese
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 bunch of chives or green onions, chopped
Salt and white pepper, to taste


In a large stockpot over medium heat, render bacon until crisp, stirring frequently. Remove bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a platter lined with paper towels. Drain the grease from the pan, leaving 2 Tbsp. remaining.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the butter, onions, leeks, garlic, and pimentos. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes until onions soften and develop slight color. Add the flour and stir to form a pasty roux. Cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, beer, cream, and milk. Reduce to a simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the soup begins to thicken. Whisk in the cheeses, cayenne, and half of the chives. Allow the cheese to melt and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the crispy bacon and remaining chives.

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