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Cheddar Ale Soup

All I know is that I am TIRED of the cold weather. I know, I know I don’t really have a right to complain since I live in Orange County, California, but I am complaining anyway! I grew up in Northwestern Montana, so I have had my fair share of snowy cold winters and I moved here to escape that. And because I grew up in the snow, I usually don’t mind the small cold streaks that we get here in the OC, but this year I am over it! I am also sick and tired of being sick. This cold and flu season has hit my family hard this year. So needless to say I am ready for springtime and all the warm sunny days that it brings.

So to keep myself and my family warm I have been cooking and baking all kinds of yummy goodies. Not only does it warm our bodies, but it warms our home and fills it with lots of comforting smells too. I do love the coziness the cold weather brings. I felt soup was in order this past week and since my husband could eat cheese as a main course I choose a cheese soup. This soup tastes exactly like you would think a good Cheddar and Ale soup would taste. Williams-Sonoma has never let me down when it comes to letting flavors shine through in their recipes. The sharp cheddar cheese marries well with the bitterness of the ale. We enjoyed this soup with a warm crusty loaf of bread dipping it in the soup. I think a fun way to serve this soup would be in a bread bowl.

Cheddar Ale Soup

I hope you are staying warm wherever you are. If not, do like me and make some soup and bread and snuggle under a blanket and think of all the sunshine spring will bring very soon! Bon Appetit!

Cheddar and Ale Soup
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½ cup unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice
1 stalk celery, cut into ½ dice
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon dry mustard
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 bottle good quality ale
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leek, carrot and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the flour and mustard until incorporated and cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock and ale and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking to break up any lumps of flour, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheeses and whisk constantly until nicely melted, 3-5 minutes longer. Do not let boil. Stir in the cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Taste to adjust the seasoning.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the parsley and/or additional cheese and serve immediately.

Adapted From: Williams-Sonoma Soup & Stew

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