Okay… help me.
I need a soup intervention. A souptervention, if you will.
It’s all I’ve been craving and all I’ve been wanting and this would be super awesome if it wasn’t still like 80 degrees, but whatever. Brush it off.
When I made bread bowls on Sunday I knew exactly what I was going to fill them with. And I do mean exactly. The only answer was this specific soup. The cheese soup base has been in our family for ages (it was one of the first recipes I ever rambled about here) and obviously it could only get better with beer. I mean, beer in soup!
It’s one of those things I only get so often, occasionally showing it’s face during random Octoberfest celebrations and in restaurants that have no business serving such a high maintenance soup. And it definitely is high maintenance, but anything with cups upon cups of gooey, shredded cheese is. You can’t just let it sit there people. It’s needs a little spoon lovin’… like, constantly.
I promise it’s 100% worth it. Our favorite way to eat this cheese soup is with red peppers and crisp bacon tossed in at the end, but it really is a fabulous base for a traditional beer cheese soup (I think carrots and celery and other disgusting things I’m not friends with have a place there) or seeing where your own spin takes you. Add some green bell peppers, add jalapeños, add chicken… seriously, do whatever you want. And yes – it tastes like beer. You should probably enjoy beer – even just a teeny bit – to enjoy this soup. Or maybe this soup will make you like beer. Which would be a pretty cool benefit.
And yes, you should definitely dip a billion pieces of bread in it. But you didn’t hear that from me.
Beer Cheese Soup
Yield: serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups of your favorite beer (I find that lighter wheat beers work best)
1 cup half and half
4 ounces sharp white cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces extra sharp yellow cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces colby jack, freshly grated
fresh herbs (I like cilantro) for garnish
salt and pepper to season if needed
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered, them remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low and add onions, peppers and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high and add in butter. Once sizzling, which in flour and cook for 3-4 minutes until flour is nutty and golden. Add in beer and stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes so they alcohol cooks out and the mixture somewhat thickens.
Add in half and half, then reduce heat to low and gradually add cheese while stirring. Stir until smooth, then fold in bacon and serve immediately. Garnish fresh chopped herbs over top if desired.
[Because any cheese soup can get "gloppy" after it sits, I suggest making this as close to serving time if possible. If the mixture gets too thick, add a bit more liquid (beer, milk, broth) and stir over low heat. That is also how I recommend re-heating the soup as well.]
[this soup is adapted from my aunt's cheese soup]
I can now rest easy.