Dish number two in my famed beer dinner series is Beer Cheddar Soup. I hadn’t had too many, if any, Beer Cheddar Soups before, but I was excited to give it a try because beer and cheese are two of my favorite things. The combination sounded mouth wateringly magical to me.
We used a five year old sharp cheddar and, again, Central City’s Red Racer Pale Ale. The recipe we started with was found online here, but we (those actually cooking, not me) made some alterations. We meant to add bacon, but ended up forgetting it. We also left out the leeks, mostly because we didn’t have any. Here is the recipe that we used:
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
- 1 (12-oz) can of Central City Red Racer Pale Ale
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb 5 year aged Cheddar, grated (4 cups)
Cook carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper.
Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Discard bay leaf.
Our soup was very delicious, you could really pickup the sharpness of the aged cheddar, which balanced out the richness of all the added fats. The flavor of the beer was also apparent, contributing positively to the soup. Our gracious host thought our soup compared favorably to the one he regularly orders from Big Ridge, success!