Ah, wait for it. The weather is about to take a turn for the cool, and the divas head outdoors to one of our favorite annual fests, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, celebrating 20 years from Sept. 25-Nov. 16.
And while there’s plenty to sip, our favorite part of the festival is the 30 Marketplaces from around the globe lining World Showcase Lagoon. You can try a bite of this, a nibble of that, and while we always try something new, a bowl of Cheddar Cheese Soup is obligatory – on the menu at the Canada Marketplace since 1995. What’s not to love about cheese, bacon and beer?
Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/2 pound of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock
4 cups milk
1 pound grated white cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup warm beer
Chopped scallions or chives, for garnish
Cook bacon over medium heat in a Dutch oven for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring often. Add onion, celery and butter; sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes over medium heat. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add milk and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Do not boil after adding milk.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until cheese is melted and soup is smooth. Stir in warm beer. If soup is too thick, thin with warm milk. Serve hot, garnished with chopped scallions or chives.
Diva Confession: For a richer flavor, a malty English ale is the best beer to use for cheese soup, but a light wheat beer will work just fine.