Beer Cheese Soup

1 bunch leeks (2 or 3 large leeks)
2 carrots, peeled
2 celery ribs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup 1% milk
12 ounces beer
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
8 ounces medium cheddar, shredded
2 ounces emmentaler, shredded
salt & pepper

Finely chop leeks (white and light green part only). Place chopped leeks in a large bowl of cold water; agitate the leeks then let them sit for 15 minutes to allow any dirt and sediment to sink to the bottom of the bowl. Carefully scoop the leeks out with your hands to another large bowl and dry with paper towels. Finely chop the carrots and celery and add to the leeks.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat. Add vegetable mix and saute until softened. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk while whisking; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mustard and the beer and raise the temperature to medium-high, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Whisk constantly until thickened.

Remove pot from heat and stir in cheese, a little at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next.

Garnish with chopped green onions or croutons; serve with warm bread if desired.

Heat up any leftovers over low heat the next day (after one day, the soup starts to separate a bit).

Tip: For a weeknight meal, have the cheese shredded and vegetables cleaned and chopped ahead of time; pick up a baguette from the market or bakery and pop it in the oven for a few minutes to warm it through. Heat up any leftovers over low heat the following day.

recipe adapted from Trega Foods