This recipe marries the smoky taste of bacon, tart apples and the bite of rich, old cheddar in this smooth, sensational soup.
In skillet, cook bacon over medium high until cooked through but not crisp, about 7 minutes. Break into pieces and set aside.
Drain all but 2 tbsp (25 mL) of fat from the pan. Return pan to medium high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring often until onion is tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in thyme, salt, pepper, bay leaves and apple; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cider and broth, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and blend with immersion blender until smooth or transfer to blender in batches and blend until smooth.
Whisk in cheddar until well blended (may need to heat soup to incorporate cheese completely). Serve in warmed soup bowls topped with reserved bacon.
Makes 6 servings