After the holidays, we had about eight pounds of cheese left over.
There is also a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer…completely untouched and off by itself on top of the garage refrigerator. I’m here to tell you nobody drinks this anymore.
My excuse for the cheese is a complete seduction from a vast selection at a killer cheese case with no countenance of restraint. That’s a wonderful sharp white cheddar, pictured above, by the way. Why wouldn’t you want a couple of pounds of that?
No excuse for the beer.
Happening across a Beer Cheese recipe stuffed in a “To Try Soon” folder, I had the answer to my overage problem.
Thing is I’d have to make it six times to use all of the beer and nearly all of the cheese…sadly, one of my new year’s resolutions is a twirl with moderation.
But the once proves this recipe is a keeper. This is a yummy and creamy I’ll-start-a-diet-tomorrow” kind of soup that’s none too thick and just the right amount of rich and perfect for a movie and fire on a cold evening.
And I carved a bit of space out in the fridge in the doing.
Note: use a light beer, not dark…although the yeasty taste is a necessary and pleasing component to this soup you don’t want to overdue to the point of bitter. Also, use a good white cheddar…it’s worth the extra expense to buy something nice at a cheese counter and grate it yourself.
Or, just call me…I still have about seven pounds left.
4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine (about 2 cups worth)
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
2 small carrots, peeled and chopped into little pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. whole milk
12 ounces beer (not dark)…I recommend Pabst Blue Ribbon or some other light beer nobody wants to drink
3 c. grated sharp white Cheddar, plus extra for garnish (this is about one pound of cheese)
1 1/2 t. Kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper (or more to taste)
1 T. sugar
1 t. hot sauce (optional)
2 T. olive oil
Heat oven to 350. This is for toasting the baguette later.
Melt the butter in your soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more until all is softened.
Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes; the mixture will clump and look ugly.
Still stirring constantly, add the broth slowly and cook until a thick, smooth paste forms, about 3 minutes. Still stirring, slowly add the milk, then the beer. Cook until the foam subsides and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the cheese, salt, pepper, sugar, and hot sauce (if using) and simmer over a medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and let this cool for about 5 minutes. Using a blender and working in batches or using an immersion blender, process the soup until smooth-ish…some little chunks of veggies is OK.
Meanwhile, while the soup is simmering…thinly slice the baguette…you’ll need about a dozen or so slices…and brush with the olive oil. Bake until golden about 10 to 13 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a couple of baguette slices and some additional cheese. Serve some additional baguette on the side if you wish.