Local Lager and Cheddar Cheese Béchamel Soup

Local Lager and Cheddar Cheese Béchamel Soup: This is a hearty and delicious soup using some great Georgia products. For this soup we used Red Hare Long Day Lager and Flat Creek Lodge Natural Rind Cheddar Cheese Béchamel Soup with Truffled Croutons and Drizzled with Balsamic .

Local Lager and Cheddar Cheese Béchamel Soup

2 bottles locally brewed lager

6 cloves garlic

1 carrot diced

1 parsnip diced

4 shallots chopped

2 cups home-made chicken stock (substitute 2 cups low sodium canned stock)

2 cups local cream

1 pound cheddar cheese, grated

3 Tbs. cornstarch

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Croutons

3 Tbs. butter

2 teaspoons white truffle oil

2 cups diced Big City Bread Baguette

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter with the truffle oil. Toss the bread cubes with the oil and shake the pan to coat evenly. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, turning once, until crisp and golden.

Combine the beer, garlic, carrots, parsnips, shallots and cook over medium high heat until reduced by about ½. Add the cream and chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture back into the sauce pan. Toss the grated cheese with the corn starch in a bowl. Add the cheese to the soup and bring back to a simmer (do not boil). Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

To Serve: Ladle the hot soup into bowls, top with the warm croutons and a few dashes of the Balsamic glaze.