12 slices bacon, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¾ cup all-purpose flour
5 ½ cups chicken stock
12 ounces beer, at room temperature
3 bay leaves, whole
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 – 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard (spice aisle)
16 ounces sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded* and divided
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
5 – 6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1 ripe red tomato, diced (optional)
Chopped green olives (optional)
Sautéed mushrooms (optional)
Over medium heat, in a large soup pot, or Dutch oven, cook bacon until golden brown and crispy. Remove half of bacon and reserve for garnish. Stir in butter and allow to melt.
Add onions and ground beef. Cook, stirring often until beef is browned and crumbled. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add flour and stir constantly for 2 – 3 minutes.
Slowly add chicken stock, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add beer and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
Add cream, Worcestershire, hot sauce and dry mustard, stirring well.
Add 12 ounces (approx. 3 cups) cheese, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition to completely melt the cheese.
Taste for seasonings and salt and pepper at this time. Remove bay leaves.
Serve garnished with your favorite cheeseburger toppings – bacon, scallions, cheese, tomatoes, olives and/or mushrooms.
*Get a block of cheese and shred your own. Pre-shredded cheese has a special "non-sticking" agent added to it, so it doesn't melt as smoothly.