Beer Cheese Soup

This is a delicious soup from a new food network star named Amy Thielen who has a show called The Heartland Table. I have really enjoyed the shows that I have watched and was excited to try it. It did not disappoint! You have to be careful not to boil the soup once the cheese is in as it will curdle.

Beer cheese soup

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
1 to 1 1/2 large carrots, diced (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup small-diced piquillo peppers, or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium store-bought or homemade
One 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably a mild-flavored blond or pale ale
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
12 ounces aged yellow cheddar (aged at least 2 years), grated
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Mustard oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Fresh goat cheese, for garnish
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until well incorporated, about 5 minutes more.

Add the chicken stock, beer and half-and-half and cook, whisking often, at a very slow simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the cheddar to the soup by the handful, whisking each batch until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, mustard and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender (holding a thick towel over the lid to prevent overflow) until very smooth.

Just before serving, reheat the soup until steaming and taste for seasoning, adding salt as necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a swirl of mustard oil, a dollop of goat cheese and a sprinkle of thyme.

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