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Apple, Bacon and Cheddar Soup

This recipe marries the smoky taste of bacon, tart apples and the bite of rich, old cheddar in this smooth, sensational soup.

 6 strips Ontario side bacon
 1 cup (250 mL) each chopped onion, celery and carrot
 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
 ½ tsp (2 mL) each, salt and fresh cracked pepper
 2 bay leaves
 4 cups (1 L) chopped peeled tart apples
 1 cup (250 mL) apple cider
 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken or vegetable broth
 2 cups (500 mL) grated old cheddar
Steps:
1

In skillet, cook bacon over medium high until cooked through but not crisp, about 7 minutes. Break into pieces and set aside.

2

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.

3

Whisk in cheddar until well blended (may need to heat soup to incorporate cheese completely). Serve in warmed soup bowls topped with reserved bacon.

Cook's Notes:
4

Makes 6 servings