Irish Potato Soup with Cheese and Red Ale
* 4 tablespoons butter, divided
* 2 cups yellow onion, chopped
* 3 medium leeks (white and light green portions only), sliced
* 3/4 cup sliced celery
*8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, coarsely chopped
*1 can (12 oz.) Irish Red Ale
*4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
*3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*4 cups whole or 2% milk
*7 oz. Kerrygold Dubliner cheese, grated
*3/4 cup finely minced parsley (optional)
*4 oz. crumbled bleu cheese, preferably Cashel (optional)
*Crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 6 to 8 quart stockpot. Add onion, leek, and celery; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Add potatoes, ale, stock, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.
Melt remaining butter in a medium saucepan; gradually add flour, whisking until smooth. Cook 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in milk, whisking until hot and thickened. Add cheese; stir until melted.
Stir cheese mixture into potato mixture until combined. Cook over very low heat for 10 minutes.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley, bleu cheese, and bacon crumbles, if desired.