Cheddar Beer Soup

No pictures; you don’t want to see what my kitchen looks like.

Adapted from Gourmet

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, small dice
2 medium potatoes, small dice
1 bay leaf
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
â…“ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 ¾ cups broth (14 fl oz) (I used homemade veggie stock)
1 bottle ale or other beer (I used abandoned Coors)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 pound extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (4 cups)
** 4 bacon slices (3 1/2 oz total), cooked and crumbled (optional)

Wash leeks and celery thoroughly to get out sand and dirt.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan or Dutch Oven and cook leeks and celery over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic, cook for a minute more, and transfer to blender with some stock or water. Puree.

Add veggie puree back to pot with potatoes, carrots, rest of stock, and beer. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper, and simmer until potatoes are cooked through and the soup stops being foamy.

Whisk milk and flour together until smooth, and stir into soup. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring, and cook until cheese is melted.

Serve sprinkled with bacon, unless you don’t eat or don’t have bacon, in which case don’t worry about the bacon. Eat with bread and more beer.

We used Coors and it tasted like beer soup, but a more upscale beer would work fine. I probably wouldn’t use a porter or a stout, but any of the lighter ones like ale or lager would work, maybe even a brown.

You can also make this without pureeing the leeks and celery, if you like more chunky soups, or with onions instead of leeks.

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