1 large yellow onion, diced
3-4 carrots, diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 stick butter (8 Tbsp)
3/4 cup flour
4 cups milk (whole makes richer soup, skim is healthier but not as good)
32 oz carton low sodium chicken broth
16 oz beer - Ale makes the best soup (I used Sierra Nevada)
2 Tbsp worstershire
2 tsp dry mustard
24 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese (for cost reasons, I usually use 1 lb of the cheap kraft cheese and 1/2 lb of a really good cheddar but you can do whatever)
salt and pepper to taste
popcorn for garnish
1. Melt butter on medium heat in large pot/dutch oven - sautee onion, carrot, celery and garlic 5-7 mn or until soft
2. Turn down heat to low and add flour - stir constantly 4-5 mn
3. Slowly add milk, broth and beer - stir well to combine and bring to a simmer for at least 5 mn or until soup thickens
4. Add worstershire, mustard powder and salt/pepper to taste.
(At this point you can either puree your soup with an immersion blender OR you can just leave it - depends on if you like "bits" in your soup or not. I prefer very small bits, so I usually take a few turns with the immersion blender, but I know people that put it in the blender so it's super smooth and know others that like huge chunks so just leave it - it's totally a personal thing...go with your gut.)
5. Slowly add cheese by the handful, making sure it's melted before adding more. When all cheese has been added, let simmer for at least 10 mn - although I like to let mine sit on low for about a half hour.
6. Ladle into bowls and top with popcorn!
Mmmmmm.....this is the part of living in the Midwest that I DON'T hate when it's below zero :)