1 piece(½-pound) slab bacon, sliced 1/3”thick, cut into 1/3” dice 1celery rib, finely chopped 1small onion, finely chopped 1large jalapeño, seeded and chopped 2 cloves(large) garlic, minced 1 Tbspchopped thyme 1 bottle(12-ounce) lager or pilsner 2 ¼ cupslow-sodium chicken broth 4 Tbspunsalted butter ¼ cupall-purpose flour 1 cupheavy cream ½ poundsharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded 4 ouncessmoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded Salt & Freshly ground pepper Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving
Preparation: In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2 ¼ cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses, and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts. Serves: 6.