January 08, 2022

6 slices thick-cut bacon diced
1 large Vidalia onion finely chopped
1 medium red pepper finely chopped
2 large carrots finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Maple Ale - if you can find that - substitute a dark ale and add 3 tablespoons of Wood's Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups of milk
2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar freshly grated
1/2 cup chunks of ham
1/2 cup of cheddar chunks
8 ounces sharp yellow cheddar freshly grated
1 large round loaf of bread
Kosher salt and pepper to season if desired
Place diced bacon in a large pot or dutch oven and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate.
  1. Leave only 2 tablespoons fat in the pot and to it add the 2 tablespoons. butter. Melt over medium heat. Add onions, red pepper, carrots. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Add the flour and cook stirring constantly for 3 minutes making sure not to brown. Add the pale ale and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the dry mustard, Worcestershire, cayenne, milk, and broth. Whisk together and bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk in all the cheese 1/2 a cup at a time making sure not to boil. Heat through until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Clean out bread from the loaf, line bottom with chunks of cheddar cheese, pour soup into the bread bowl, and garnish with the crisp bacon, ham, and more shredded cheddar and bake at 350° F for 30 or until golden brown.
  4. Serve and use bread from the bread bowl - don't let that go to waste.