Lucky Dog Pumpkin Cheese Soup
Yield: 4 people
- 5 ounces thick-cut bacon coarsely chopped (about 5 slices)
- 3 ounces focaccia bread cut into 3⁄4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 12 ounces Somerset Ridge Lucky Dog Hard Cider
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese grated (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounces processed cheese such as Velveeta, chopped
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place bacon in a large saucepan over medium- high, and cook until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, dispose of drippings in pan.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in same pan.
- Place bread on a rimmed baking sheet; pour melted butter over bread, and toss to coat.
- Spread in an even layer, and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Return saucepan to medium-high heat; add butter, and swirl to coat.
- Add carrots and onion to pan.
- Cook, stirring often, until carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour to pan, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
- Add milk, pumpkin, Lucky Dog Hard Cider, and salt to pan.
- Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes.
- Transfer soup to a blender. Remove center cap from blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender, and place a clean towel over opening in lid.
- Process until smooth. With blender on low speed, add cheeses, 1⁄2 cup at a time, processing until smooth.
- Stir in half-and-half.
- Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls.
- Top evenly with croutons, bacon, thyme, and pepper.