Beer and Cheddar Soup - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Beer and Cheddar Soup

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1/2 lb Piece of slad bacon (sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3 inch dice)
1 Celery rib (finely chopped)
1 Small onion (finely chopped)
1 Large jalapeno (seeded and chopped)
2 Large garlic cloves (minced)
1 tbs Chopped thyme
12 oz Bottle lager or pilsner
2 1/4 cups Low-sodium chicken broth
4 tbs Unsalted butter
1/4 cup All purpose flour
1 cup Heavy cream
1/2 lb Sharp yellow cheddar cheese (coarsely shredded)
4 oz Smoked cheddar cheese (coarsely shredded)
  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  Garlic-rubbed toast

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeno, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, Stirring until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses, and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.