Cheddar Ale Soup for Bruce’s Birthday

My brother’s birthday is in October, so we celebrate with an Octoberfest theme.  This is the soup I make for the appetizer, which the menfolk of the family always enjoy.  Beer & Cheese?  Of course they like it!

CHEDDAR ALE SOUP    (serves 6)

5tbs Butter                                                                              2 cups pale ale (whatever you’re drinking)

1 large leek, finely chopped                                                         2 bay leaves

1 cup of celery, finely chopped                                                  1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup parsnips, finely chopped                                                   1/2 cup heavy cream

2 large cloves of garlic, minced                                                  2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup all-purpose flour                                                              1& 1/2 cups crumbled Stilton Cheese

4 cups chicken broth (canned is fine)                                       Salt & Pepper to taste

Melt butter over low heat in a large pot, add the leek, celery and parsnips.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes or until very tender.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the stock and the beer.  Add the bay leaves & cayenne.  Bring to a boil slowly, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t overflow.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until flavors come together and the soup has reached a nice consistency, about 1 hour.

Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.  Add the cheeses a little at a time, stirring until almost melted after each addition.  Season with salt & pepper.

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