Creamy Cheddar Cheese Soup with Crispy Bacon & Chives
- 3/4 lb bacon, chopped (optional garnish)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large pimentos or roasted red peppers, diced
- 6 Tbsp flour
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 (12-oz) beer (preferably ale or lager)
- 1-1/2 cups cream
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 2-1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup Colby cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 bunch of chives or green onions, chopped (2 Tbsp reserved, optional garnish)
- Salt and white pepper, to taste (optional garnish)
- Render the bacon until crisp, stirring frequently, in a large stockpot over medium heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan onto a platter lined with paper towels. Drain the grease from the pan, leaving 2 Tbsp remaining.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add the butter, onions, leeks, garlic, and pimentos. Cook for 4-5 minutes until onions soften and develop slight color. Add the flour and stir to form a pasty roux. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the stock, beer, cream, and milk. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the soup begins to thicken. Whisk in the cheeses, cayenne, and half of the chives. Allow the cheese to melt, then season with salt and white pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the crispy bacon and reserved chives, if desired.