Monday, January 28, 2013

beer cheese soup

Beer, and cheese? AND bacon? Yes, please!

This is a pretty easy soup, and unlike most soups that need lots of cooking time to develop the flavors of the broth, this comes together in about 30 minutes. We served our soup with homemade pretzel rolls- but that's a recipe for another day. Any crusty bread will do just fine for sopping up the cheesy goodness.

This is the second batch of bacon I cut up for this recipe, the first making it's way into Nora Jone's mouth before I could get to her. That's what I get for leaving the kitchen for chapstick, I guess. In any case, I start off with the same yumminess that starts almost any delicious recipe. Bacon. Use as much or as little as you like, because this will be crumbled and sprinkled over the finished project.
Another great thing about this soup is the cheese and beer. A lot of beer cheese soups calls for extra sharp cheddar and light ales, but we don't drink light beer in this house. Instead, I opted for Yuenging Black and Tan, monterey jack and sharp cheddar but not extra sharp- I find it too bitey for a soup I plan to eat copious amounts of.
This soup doesn't have a ton of steps. Start by cooking a red bell pepper and a small onion in a small amount of the leftover bacon grease until translucent and then add 2 tablespoons butter, melt and then add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a rue. Cook that rue until it's a nutty brown color and add your beer. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, to burn off the alcohol. Add 1/2 cup half and half, 1/2 cup chicken stock and reduce heat to low. Add your cheese, one handful at a time, until all your cheese is incorporated. Be sure to stir constantly until completely smooth. At this point I taste and add seasonings accordingly- garlic powder, paprika and pepper. Serve immediately with crumbled bacon!
Beer Cheese Soup
5 slices of bacon
1 small onion, diced fine
1 red bell pepper, diced fine
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 bottle of your favorite beer (light or dark)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 oz. monterey jack cheese
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
Garlic Powder

Start by sauteing bacon until crisp. Set aside on paper towel to drain, crumble and reserve. Using leftover bacon grease, saute red bell pepper and onion until translucent. Add butter and melt. Add flour to create rue and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, or until rue is nutty brown. Add beer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup half and half, 1/2 cup chicken stock and heat through. Reduce heat to medium low and add cheese 1 handful at a time until completely combined and smooth. Season with paprika, garlic powder and pepper (or any of your favorite seasonings). Serve with crumbled bacon and crusty bread.

Note: I have seen recipes that use all chicken stock and no half and half if you want to go a little healthier with this. When reheating, be sure to use either half and half or chicken stock- this soup will get clumpy fast and will be clumpy if not heated with another liquid.