I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Blog posts will be a bit sparse here at veggie num nums this month as we have a jam packed December. I'm going to visit my family in Chicago this weekend, and then Dave and I have a couple of smaller holiday trips planned. We are also trying to fit in some extra volunteer work at the local VA hospital, and with some animal groups.
I had a block of really good cheddar languishing in the fridge, and in looking for recipes I found this Cheddar Beer Soup. I was worried that it would be heavy, but with the broth and the beer it's not overwhelming so. The beer gives the soup a really nice flavor that cuts through the richness of the cheese. This soup would also make a delicious topping for vegetables or baked potatoes.
Cheddar Beer Soup (adapted from Gourmet magazine)
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (14 fl oz)
1 (12-oz) bottle ale such as Bass
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably English; rind removed if necessary), grated (4 cups)
Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander.
Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in mustard, salt, and pepper.
Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Discard bay leaf.