I would not be doing our highlighted ingredient any justice if I did not include a Cheddar Cheese Soup recipe. So, here you go. This is adapted from an original recipe by Emerile Lagasse. Enjoy!
4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup creme sherry
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Crumbled bacon, creme fraiche, chopped parsley leaves, optional for garnish
In a large, heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and peppers and saute until vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the sherry and let cook for a minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in stock, milk and heavy cream. Bring soup to a low boil and reduce heat so that the soup barely simmers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the soup is very thick and flavorful, about 20 minutes. Add the grated cheese in 1/2 cup increments, stirring after each addition until completely melted and smooth. Do not allow soup to boil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve in shallow bowls, topped with some crumbled crispy bacon bits, a dollop of creme fraiche, and chopped parsley, as desired.