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Friday, October 25, 2013

White Cheddar Potato Soup with Killian's Ale

For day 25 of Soup Month 2013 we went a little Irish tonight and made this White Cheddar Potato Soup with Killian's Red Ale.  With a cheesy and velvety texture, the Killian's adds a delicious flavor to this soup.  And besides, nothing is more fun than cooking with beer!  Just be sure to save one beer to drink with this soup. Yum!

Potato soup is a rich dish, there's no getting around that, but when the weather turns cold and you're looking for something hearty for dinner, this will be the recipe to make.  We started with a quick sauté of onions, celery and leeks.  If you're not familiar with leeks, they land somewhere between an onion and garlic, but the flavor is subtle and more on the mild side.  (You'll want to cut the leek down the center and wash it under cool water before slicing to remove any sand.)  It's a great flavor, especially with potatoes, so try not to skip the leek.

Yukon Gold potatoes were used in this soup because of their rich, creamy taste and the fact that they don't crumble when cooked.  The potatoes are added to the soup, along with the ale and stock, which allows the potatoes to capture all of those flavors.

The butter and cheese sauce is added to the pan just before serving and a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese and diced cooked bacon are added to each bowl as a garnish.  This is an excellent soup alone or serve a smaller portion as a side for roast chicken or a grilled Rib Eye steak.  Enjoy!

2 TB  Salted Butter
1 medium  Onion, diced
2 stalks  Celery, chopped
1 large  Leek, white and light green section, washed and thinly sliced
8 medium  Yuken Gold Potatoes, peeled or not, and diced
1 bottle  Killian's Red Ale
4 cups  Chicken Stock
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
3 TB  Salted Butter
4 TB  Flour
3-1/2 cups  Half and Half  or  2% Milk
8 oz  Medium-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Crumbled Blue Cheese for Garnish
Cooked and Diced Bacon for Garnish

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and leek and sauté until soft about 6 - 8 minutes.

Add the potatoes, ale, stock, salt and pepper to the pot and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Slowly add the flour to the pan, stirring to blend until smooth.  Slowly add the milk to the pot, whisking to blend, and cook until hot.  Add the cheese, stirring with a spoon until the cheese is melted and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Pour the cheese sauce into the pot with the potato mixture, stir gently to combine and cook over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add a sprinkle of blue cheese and/or cooked bacon as a garnish.

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