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Potato, Cheddar & Beer Soup

A friend of the family, Debi MacIntosh, served this delicious soup one Boxing day and I've been hooked ever since. She found this recipe in a magazine years ago. You can use whatever beer you have on hand. I use a Keith's Red and also a regular Keith's.
Serves 6

Ingredients:

5 large russet potatoes, cut into chunks

2 cans of beer or ale

4 cups of chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp of dried basil

1/2 tsp of dried thyme

2 tbsp of olive oil 

1 large onion (roughly 1 cup), chopped

3 sticks of celery (roughly 1 & 1/4 cups), chopped

3 large carrots (roughly 1 & 1/2 cups), cut into half-moon shapes

1 leek, white and light green part only (roughly 1 & 1/4 cups), sliced into half-moon

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 14oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1 cup cream (5-8% MF) 

1 heaping cup of grated old/sharp cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

Directions:

Step 1: In a large pot, add the potatoes and the beer. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, bay leaf, basil and thyme. Add the chicken stock so it covers all the potatoes. Cover the pot and bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cooking the potatoes for 20 minutes, until fork-tender. 

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a pot over medium heat add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrot, leek, and celery. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes, then add the minced garlic. Mix around and saute for another minute. 

Step 3: Add the tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce and mix. Lower the heat just a little. Cook until the tomato juices have some-what evaporated, roughly 20 minutes. 

Step 4: Add the cream and mix. Add the grated cheese and mix together. Add this mixture to the potato mixture. Continue to cook until all the cheese is melted, another 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently as the cheese may stick to the bottom. 

Step 5: Taste test. See if it needs any more pepper. Serve. 

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