Bacon Beer Cheese Soup with Chicken

SERVES 6-8 | ACTIVE TIME 25 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 25 Min

6 slices thick cut bacon
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder 

1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 cup beer, Belgian-style wheat beer (I used Blue Moon)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Garnishes
chives, chopped
croutons

crisp bacon, diced

Warm an 8-quart pot over medium-high heat.  Using clean scissors; cut bacon into the pot.  Cook bacon until it's crisp, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite size pieces.

Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan draining the drippings into the pan as you take out the bacon. Place the bacon inside your upside-down pot lid (or on a plate). Add chicken pieces into bacon grease to cook, sprinkle with 1 /2 teaspoon salt. Stir occasionally until chicken is completely cooked through. Remove chicken from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on the upside-down pot lid with bacon.

Cut butter into 1 tablespoon pieces and add to pan drippings. Stir until melted. Whisk in flour and seasonings. Allow to cook for 1 minute, whisking frequently, to cook out the floury taste. Add beer and whisk to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and half-and-half.  Whisk to combine and reduce heat to medium. Slowly add the cheese, if you add the cheese too quickly it can become grainy, so add a little at a time whisking until it is incorporated. Stir until you have a smooth mixture.  Add Worcestershire sauce and return chicken and bacon back to the pot.  Stir to combine.

Allow to simmer until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

Garnish with croutons, chives, and bacon.  Enjoy!


DONNA'S NOTES: Use cayenne pepper according to your heat preference. Mild=1/4 teaspoon, Medium=1/2 teaspoon, Hot=1 teaspoon.

Half-and-half is an American dairy product made of half milk and half cream. You can substitute half-and-half with one part milk, one part cream or adjust according to your preference. Adding more milk than cream will make it less rich. Just be sure to use 2 cups total.


Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
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