Since my husband was such a fan of the soup, this was the first recipe I tried out from the cookbook. I also made sure to make a double batch so there would be plenty to keep in the freezer to last us for a while. I think it really turned out just like the one from the festival. I was a little bit worried since sometimes recipes do not exactly replicate the flavors you remember. But this recipe was spot on!
If I was making this soup for just me, I would decrease the amount of beer added. That is just because I am not a fan of beer in the first place. For those of you that enjoy beer, it is a great complement to the cheese. Everyone that likes beer, evenly mildly, enjoys this soup just the way it is.
In case you wanted the recipe, here it is again, copied from the Disney Wine and Dine Festival Recipes page:
Cheddar Cheese Soup
Makes 6 cups
1/2 pound of bacon, cut into 1/4-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 sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pale ale, room temperature
Chopped scallions or chives, for garnish
1. Cook bacon in a 4- or 5-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add onion, celery and butter; sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir constantly for about 4 minutes.
4. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add milk and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Do not boil after adding milk.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt and pepper until cheese is melted and soup is smooth. Stir in ale. If soup is too thick, thin to desired consistency with warm milk.
7. Serve hot, garnished with scallions or chives.