Another great recipe from the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste. This makes a large amount of soup and would be wonderful for a party. I could not find my immersion blender so I cooled the soup a little and pureed it in the blender in batches. I will heat it up to order so that the cheese and cream do not curdle. The flavor is so good!
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) canola oil
4-6 shallots, thinly sliced
2 yellow waxy potatoes
1 yellow onion
2 ribs celery
2 carrots, peeled
4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups (4 fl. oz./500 ml.) whole milk
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) low-sodium chicken broth
1 bottle (12 fl. oz./375 ml.) ale
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 lb. (500 g.) Cheddar cheese, shredded
In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the shallots and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside
Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) cubes; chop the onion, celery and carrots. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the potatoes, onion, celery, carrots and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until the onion, celery and carrots have softened and the potatoes are almost tender, 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour, salt, paprika and cayenne and stir until the flour is lightly browned. Slowly add the milk, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the cream, broth, ale, Worcestershire sauce and mustard, whisking constantly. Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring, to allow the flavors to blend, about 5 minutes; be careful not to let the mixture boil. Add in the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese has just melted, 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or puree in batches in a regular blender. Reheat just until steaming. Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with the crispy shallots and serve at once. Serves 4-6.