Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beer Cheese Soup

I've been meaning to write about "beer food" for a while now. That is, either food made with beer, or food that goes really well with beer. Ideally, both.

Anyway, it's raining buckets here in the Old Pueblo this evening, which prompted a pretty serious craving for comfort food. After poking around a bit for beer cheese soup recipes, I came up with the following. At the risk of being completely immodest, it kicks ass.

For 2 quarts:

1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp dry mustard
8 cups chicken broth
12 oz beer (I used my Christmas Caramale, but I think any full-flavored, moderately hopped ale will do.)
4 oz shredded swiss cheese
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
pinches of nutmeg and cayenne, to taste

4-5 broccoli crowns per bowl

1. Saute the vegetables with salt and pepper in the butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a food processor and puree. Set aside. Reserve the butter in the pot.

2. Make a roux with the butter, flour, and mustard for a couple of minutes (I use low heat to keep from browning the flour.) Whisk in the chicken broth about 1 cup at a time, bringing it to a boil on high heat. Let it boil for about 10 minutes, stirring periodically.

3. Add the vegetable puree, beer, and cheese, stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes on low heat (longer is OK). Correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and (if desired) cayenne and nutmeg.

4. For more texture (and nutrition), steam the broccoli crowns just before serving. Place them in the bowl and ladle the soup on top.

Enjoy with the beverage of your choosing. Tonight I had a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, which was excellent.


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