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Beer and Cheese Soup: Creamy, Savory Comfort in a Bowl

July 19, 2010

Posted by:  Jenny

I first had beer and cheese soup on my honeymoon at Le Cellier, a Canadian restaurant in Disney World.  As you might guess, few things create romance like Mickey Mouse, ale, and cheddar.

My husband and I both loved this soup.  It was served with the restaurant’s signature pretzel bread, and most diners tend to dip the bread in the soup.  For me, the soup is pretty much an excuse to eat lots of bread.  It has a somewhat smoky flavor from the bacon and beer, and while it’s too rich to make on a regular basis, it’s one of Andrew’s favorite special meals. 

Since many other people crave the soup at home, there have been several recipes for it posted online.   The following is a result of tweaking a few different versions.  It’s a fairly easy and forgiving recipe; you can increase or decrease amounts as needed, adding more liquid if it seems too thick or more flour if it seems too thin.  You can also increase/decrease the seasonings to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, diced (I only use half of the onion.)
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced celery (I always omit the celery.)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz. grated white cheddar
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beer, room temperature (Use Canadian or American ale if you can find it, but it’s also good with plain old Budweiser.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced chives

Directions:
1) Brown bacon in a large soup pot (A Dutch oven works fine for me.  I like to cook my bacon on my griddle and crumble it instead, but if you do brown it separately, make sure you add a few spoonfuls of the bacon grease to the soup pot along with the bacon for flavoring.)

2) Melt the butter in the pot over medium-low heat.

3) Add the onions and saute until translucent.

4) Gradually add flour, stirring until it is mixed in with the onions and bacon.

5) Gradually add the chicken broth and milk, stirring until the flour has blended into and thickened the liquid and there are no more lumps.

6) Add handfuls of the cheese into the soup, stirring to mix as it melts. Don’t turn the heat any higher than medium; you don’t want this soup to boil.  After all the cheese has been melted into the soup, add the Tobasco, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper. (I omit the salt because bacon and cheese are pretty salty enough.)

7) Finally, stir in the beer.  Cover and let simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.  Top individual servings with fresh chives and serve with your favorite bread.

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