I thought writing about the unseasonably warm weather last weekend might jinx continued warm temperatures, and sure enough, winter has arrived. The nice thing about living in the south is though it may be 27 degrees at 8 a.m., rarely does it stay 27 degrees all day like it does where I grew up. Though I suppose that statement is not entirely true. Where I grew up, it may be 27 degrees at 8 a.m. and drop to 7 degrees by noon. When that happens, this cheddar beer soup is sure to warm you up.
Cheddar beer soup is a recipe I typically make once per winter. Though I may make it only once a season, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not worth making more often. I’m just the type of person who likes to experience something once, then tuck it away until next time. Rarely is a recipe put into my regular recipe rotation like last week’s easy chicken and dumplings.
It’s tough for me to decide if I like the vegetables in this soup, or if it would be better strictly as a smooth soup. It’s hard for me to accept carrots and celery in what I think should be a smooth soup, but the vegetables seem to give the soup a little bit of pizzazz that I’ve come to enjoy. As for the cheese, a bag of pre-shredded cheese typically contains the 3 cups needed for the soup. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cheese if you wish to garnish your soup.
Since the recipe calls for one, 12-ounce bottle of beer, I’ve nicknamed this soup the “now or later”. If I purchase a 40, I have 28 ounces of leftover beer to enjoy now, while making the soup. If I purchase a six-pack, I have five bottles left to enjoy later. Either way, I thoroughly enjoy myself while making this soup.
After reading that, you may get the impression I’m a bit of a lush, but in reality it had been so long since I’d bought a six-pack that I forgot how to open one. I spent at least 3o seconds rifling through my utensils looking for a bottle opener with which to attack the top before I realized it was a twist off. If you do not particularly care for beer or choose not to drink alcohol, you can use the leftover beer from the soup in one of my favorite bread recipes, beer bagels. Stay warm and enjoy!
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ yellow onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 12 ounces light beer (do not use dark beer)
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, reserving ¼ cup if desired for garnish
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
- Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrots.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery, and carrots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir continuously for three minutes. The mixture will clump.
- Add the broth and continue to stir until the clumps become a thick smooth paste, about another three minutes.
- Slowly add the milk and stir until incorporated.
- Slowly add the beer and stir until incorporated.
- Continue to cook until the foam subsides and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cheddar cheese, salt, pepper sugar, and hot sauce if desired.
- Simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- If desired, garnish with cheese and serve with a baguette.