Guaranteed hit if you are a beer lover. I'm not but I really think the flavours of this soup are interesting in a really good way. Had this add Bristro Vallier a while ago and have been wanting to recreate it ever since. With the colder weather just around the corner, I feel this would be a great comforting starter for a weekend meal. Choose you favourite local beer - one that's not too bitter and enjoy!
Beer and Cheddar Soup: 4 servings
- 4 slices of spicy pancetta
- 1T (15ml) of oil
- 1 small leek, white part only, cleaned and diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 1 medium yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
- 1 branch of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup (250ml) of beer (IPA, Pilsner or your favourite local brew)
- 4 cups (1l) of chicken stock
- 1 cup (250ml) of sharp cheddar
- 2T (30ml) of heavy cream
- 2T (30ml) of maple syrup
- Freshly ground pepper
Sauté the pancetta in 1T (15ml) of oil over medium high heat until it is crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and reserve as a topping.
Add the diced vegetables, thyme and bay leave to the rendered pancetta oil in the pan and cook, over medium heat, for 5 minutes until vegetables soften.
Add the beer (1 cup - 250ml) and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil to reduce for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook, uncovered at a gentle boil for 25 minutes (the vegetables should be tender).
Remove the bay leaf and thyme and transfer the soup to a blender. Blend until very smooth. Add the cheddar cheese (1 cup - 250ml) and blend to melt and combine into the soup. Add the cream (2T - 30ml) and maple syrup (2T - 30ml) and blend a final time. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep soup warm until ready to serve and garnish with crumbled crisp pancetta and micro greens. Great with some homemade pretzels or fresh country bread.