Last night we sprang ahead; today it was warm and sunny. I can’t wait for spring, but there’s just one problem: it will be too warm for creamy, luxurious, and decidedly cold-weather soup.

Not, as a dinner guest guessed, butternut squash soup.

There’s a ticking clock, people. If you like cheese or beer—and I don’t think  I know anyone who doesn’t like one or the other—make this before it’s too late.

Beer-cheese soup
From Serious Eats

2 medium leeks, hard green parts and stems discarded, diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
2 celery ribs, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Turkish bay leaf
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk [I used 2% to no ill effect]
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) bottle English ale [I used stout, which was delightful]
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups extra-sharp cheddar, grated
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
crusty bread, sliced

Add butter to 4-quart heavy saucepan set over medium heat. When melted, add leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook for five minutes, or until vegetables are tender. [I slightly undercooked my veggies. Apologies, dinner guests!]

Turn heat to medium-low, and sprinkle in flour. Stir well with wooden spoon, and cook for three minutes. Whisk in the milk, broth, and beer in a slow stream. Turn heat to medium and bring to simmer, then reduce to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and ground pepper. Stir well.

Add handful of cheese and stir until it melts. Continue adding cheese and stirring, until all cheese is incorporated. Make sure soup doesn’t come to a boil by turning down heat if necessary.

Discard the bay leaf. Serve soup in bowls with bread and crumbled bacon.

Serves 4-6.


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