Granite City Brewery Cheddar Ale Soup

CHEDDAR ALE SOUP with Bacon & Croutons
Granite City Brewery Restaurant Copycat Recipe

Serves 2-3

1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped, peeled sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped celery (include the leaves)
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 bay leaf
1 cup ale
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup low fat milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 slices lean, cooked bacon, chopped roughly
fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste

a few thick slices of good bread
extra shredded cheddar cheese
a few bits of crumbled bacon
some snipped chives or green onion tops

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil just for a minute to warm, then add the onion, celery and carrot and saute until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the flour to coat all the vegetables, then add the dry mustard, the bay leaf, the ale and broth and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the soup is thickened. Stir in the milk and cheese and cook just briefly to melt the cheese. Pull out the bay leaf and stir in the bacon.

Now, either use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend till smooth or let cool briefly, then blend in a blender and reheat. (If using a blender with hot liquids, be very careful! Cover the blender with a towel, pulse very briefly a couple times to release the steam, let out any air pressure, then re-cover with the towel and blend till smooth.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toast a couple thick slices of bread and cut into cubes. Pour the soup into oven proof bowls and add 4 to 6 bread cubes per bowl, sprinkle the bread with some shredded cheddar cheese, then a few bits of bacon. Set the bowls in the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted. Sprinkle with a few snipped chives or green onion tops. Serve immediately.