1 head cauliflower, diced (heads only)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 strips thick cut bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small jalapeño, diced and seeds removed
2 bottles Big Sky Brew- Moose Drool
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Chives, diced (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut off bottom of the cauliflower (the green part), cut the head into 4 pieces, cut out the center core and cut off just the florets.
Lay out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, stir/flip the cauliflower florets and continue baking for another 10 – 15 minutes until the cauliflower is soft and golden brown. Careful not to let the cauliflower burn. Once cooked set aside until ready to use.
In a large soup pot add olive oil and diced bacon. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is just starting to brown. Add in onion, carrots and jalapeño. Continue cooking until the vegetables are started to soften.
Add in beer, chicken stock, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, salt, roasted cauliflower and dijon mustard. Cook for about 10 minutes until flavors are combined and all vegetables are soft.
Add mixture to a blender and puree starting on speed 1 and slowly going up to speed 10. Blend on speed 10 for about 2 minutes until completely smooth.
Add pureed soup back to the pot and cook over low heat while you prepare the cheddar cheese.
In a bowl add shredded cheddar cheese and toss with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Add cheese to the soup a handful at a time. Stirring the whole time so the soup does not burn and the cheese incorporates smoothly. Continue until all the cheese has been added and the soup is smooth.
Serve hot with diced chives if desired.