- 1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3-inch dice
- 1 celery rib, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
- One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
- About 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
- 4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving
- In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.
The cheddar soup can be refrigerated overnight. Rewarm gently and thin with additional broth.