Vermont Cheddar Ale Soup

Serves 6

1 large onions (1 ½ cups)
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 (12-oz) bottle ale such as Bass
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably aged Grafton or aged Cabot; rind removed if necessary), grated (4 cups)
4 bacon slices (3 1/2 oz total), cooked and crumbled


Heat a medium heavy pot over moderate heat. Add butter. When butter is melted and hot add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Then lower heat.

Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Discard bay leaf.

Serve sprinkled with bacon and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings