Apple Cider Cheddar Soup
6 bacon slices (optional)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 small sweet onion, peeled and sliced
2 apples, peeled, and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
6-7 fresh thyme springs
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 cups hard apple cider
1/2 cup heavy cream
250g smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
In a pan cook bacon strips until crisp, then place bacon on a plate with paper towel to absorb the grease and let cool. Take 3 tbsp of the bacon fat from the pan and add it to a large soup pot. Alternatively you can use a cooking oil if you are not using the bacon.
Place the soup pot over medium low heat and add the sweet potato, onion, apples, garlic cloves, and thyme. Sauté until onion starts to soften about 3-5 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock and hard apple cider, turn heat to low and simmer with the lid on until the vegetables and apple are very soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard your thyme springs then transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Then bring your soup back to the pot. (if you do not have a blender you can also use a hand blender to puree the soup in the pot)
Over medium low heat stir in the cream, cheddar, season with salt and pepper, and continue a simmer for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted into the soup.
You can now serve your soup with the optional pumpkin seeds, and bacon (chopped in small pieces) as a garnish. Enjoy!