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Year of the Soup: Week 38

I made this soup in honor of Wisconsin.

We’ve just returned from a trip to visit family in Milwaukee, carrying back with us several pounds of delicious cheese.  Yes, we probably could have cheese shipped to us through the powers of the internet, but there’s something about smuggling bricks of cheese through airport security in a carry-on bag that John enjoys.  So we purchased; we carried on; we spent 20 minutes being inspected by the TSA (apparently cheese curds have trace amounts of suspicious materials.)  All good fun.

With such dairy products in hand and the faint memory of Miller Light still in our minds, it only seemed rational to make a variation of Beer Cheese Soup.  A 5 year aged cheddar went into this recipe, but I cut it with some sharp cheddar from the store.  The aged cheddar had too strong a flavor, and frankly I didn’t want to use it all making soup :)  I chose Miller Highlife for the beer (the champagne of beers, of course), to keep everything authentic to Wisconsin tradition.  Coors Light would work just as well if you’re partial to the hometown brew.

I suggest pairing this soup with a salad or some other veggies to balance out the richness.  The flavor is strong, but rather tasty.  Happy Tuesday!

Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium russet potato, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 12 oz. Pilsner beer
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, potato, celery and carrots and saute until the onions are translucent and softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the top and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the vegetable broth and beer, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and tender.  (My celery was crunchy, so be sure to cook the veggies through until very tender.)
  3. Add the half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard and return to a simmer. Remove from heat and slowly add the Cheddar cheese, stirring until it is melted and smooth. Take care not to overheat the soup after the cheese is added or it could curdle.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve hot in bowls
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