Beer Cheese Soup is a cold-weather favorite
Beer cheese soup is a classic Midwestern recipe, but a lot of things can go wrong when making it. (Greasy blobs of cheddar, anyone?) Thankfully, I discovered a little trick that will guarantee that your next batch is silky, creamy perfection. Bring on the cold weather, because this recipe will definitely keep you warm.
The first time I attempted beer cheese soup was a few Christmases ago for a romantic night of tree trimming and indulgent eating. I had never tasted it before, but I just knew I was going to love it. I mean, it's booze and cheddar in slurpable form! Unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out like I expected. I recall it being thick, grainy and not at all good. In fact, my fiance later told me he had actually thought it was a dip.
Needless to say, I came into this next batch with a mission: to create the beer cheese soup of my always-hungry dreams. My goal was a rich, velvety soup jam-packed with cheddar flavor and soft undertones of a smooth and mellow lager. Was I asking too much? I don't think so.
I didn't want to go the Velveeta route — I'm not opposed to it in small amounts, yet I know a lot of people are — but I needed something to stabilize the soup without altering the flavor. I had an Aha! moment when I remembered my favorite homemade ice cream (from the fabulous “Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home” cookbook), which uses cream cheese in place of eggs. I applied that same theory to my beer cheese recipe, and I'm so glad I did. The cream cheese kept my soup soft and creamy, with no stringy blobs of cheddar in sight!
This version is warm and hearty, perfect for both the first autumn chill and the last winter snow. And I can tell you this much for sure: I know what I'll be serving for our tree trimming this year!
Nealey Dozier is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a blog for people who love food and home cooking
Beer Cheese Soup
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
6 ounces lager beer
4 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp yellow cheddar, freshly grated
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp white cheddar, freshly grated
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery, and cook until soft and translucent, for about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the flour and cook until thick and lightly toasted, for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the vegetables.
Return the stock mixture to the Dutch oven and return to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Add the beer, followed by the cream cheese and handfuls of cheddar, whisking constantly until the cream cheese is smooth and the cheddar is melted. Make sure the mixture never comes to a boil; boiling will cause the cheese to separate.
Stir in the milk, Dijon and Worcestershire sauce and bring back to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with toasted pretzel bread and additional shredded cheese, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
To make the soup in advance: Cook through the steps making the vegetables, roux and stock. Strain the vegetables out and refrigerate. When ready to finish, bring to a simmer and add the beer and cheese, followed by the remaining steps.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Opposing defenses find success against Steelers by eschewing blitz
- Penguins forward Downie becoming a hit with teammates
- Steelers looking for Spence to step up game at inside linebacker
- Western Pennsylvania residents chill about forecasters’ spat
- Shale oil, gas finds put Mon Valley on path to renaissance, leaders say
- Large-scale batteries are integral in shift to renewable energy
- North Huntingdon church shaken by youth pastor’s child porn rap
- Legal titans prepared to tussle in Ferrante cyanide homicide trial
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Fox Chapel native nearing return to Penn State offensive line
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era