Make a recipe using beer? I would love to! When Foodbuzz sent out an email asking for recipe suggestions to pair with New Belgium beer I immediately knew what my proposal would be and was really hoping I would be selected. Beer Cheese Soup.
I picked up a variety pack of New Belgium and had a decision to make, which beer would I be making the soup with? I choose the 1554 Enlightened Black Ale which uses a lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. While I am normally a wine drinker, I do love my occasional beer. My favorites? The darker the better. I want it to have a nice strong flavor and pair well with food.
Growing up in the beer drinking, cheese eating, Green Bay Packer loving land of Wisconsin I had my share of beer cheese soup. Some of it was less than appealing but the family recipe for beer cheese soup is pretty darn fantastic. What’s not to love? Beer, good! Cheese, good! Now this recipe is not exactly healthy: loads of cheese, butter, half and half. Everything in moderation right?
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 1 1/2 cups diced onion
- 1 1/2 cups diced celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups beer
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups half and half
- 6 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Popcorn for garnish
In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Stir in hot sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and beer; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk; cook, stirring until the flour is light brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually stir in milk, whisking to prevent scorching, until thickened. Turn heat to low and gradually stir in cheese. Keep warm.
Stir beer mixture into cheese mixture. Stir in Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and ground mustard powder. For a little more heat add a bit more hot sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Top with salt, pepper and popcorn.
The traditional topping for beer cheese soup is popcorn, adds a little texture to the soup and a hint of saltiness. It is how I prefer mine! Thick, creamy, cheesy and such a comfort food. The 1554 added a good complexity to the soup versus using a lighter beer. You could pick up the dark malt flavor in each bite.