Beer and Cheese Soup

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: From “New German Cooking,” by Jeremy and Jessica Nolen. The authors recommend using a malty dark lager for this soup, as hoppier beers will turn it bitter.

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 small yellow onion, diced

• 1 small leek, white and green parts, diced

• 2 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1 small carrot, peeled and diced

• 1 celery rib, diced

• 36 oz. double-bock beer (see Note)

• 1 lb. Emmentaler or Gruyère cheese, grated

• 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme

• 1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish

• 2 slices hearty rye bread, cut into 1-in. pieces

• 2 tbsp. freshly chopped chives

Directions

Heat a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add butter, onion, leek, garlic, carrot and celery, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened and are lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add beer, cheese, Worcestershire, thyme, salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and stir well. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often. Add bread and continue to cook, stirring often, until bread softens, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and let soup cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender and process on medium speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

Over low heat, return soup to pot and gently reheat until hot. Ladle soup into individual bowls, sprinkle with chives and a dusting of pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.