BEER CHEDDAR SOUP (WITH A KICK OF COUNTRY HAM)

Beer Cheddar Soup was on the menu but not of the “country ham” variety. However, since I bought too much of this Southern delight for my  Country Ham and Tomato Quiche, I decided to cut back on the bacon in this recipe and add the extra kick of country ham. Yum! A couple things to note: one of my guys thought this was “too hot,” so this recipe calls for fewer jalapenos than what I used; since country ham is quite salty, you probably won’t need to add salt. Eat on!

Beer Cheddar Soup (with a kick of country ham)

8 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces

4 oz country ham, cut into 1/2″ pieces (I buy the biscuit-sized pieces)

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

2 bottles of beer (I used O’Doul’s non-alcoholic)

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Optional toppings: cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced jalapenos (for those who like it “too hot”)

1) In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon and country ham 4-5 minutes until pieces begin to crisp

2) Lower heat to medium; add onion, celery, jalapenos, and thyme; cook 8-10 minutes

3) Add butter and melt; gradually sprinkle flour over top and, stirring continuously, cook 2 minutes

4) Stir in beer and chicken broth and cook 10 minutes

5) Stir in half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and cheese; cook 8 minutes, stirring often

6) Serve it up (I’m hooked on my cast iron soup bowls with their cute pail handles)

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions/8 side portions

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/01/12