Beer and Cheese Soup
This creamy soup recipe of German origin is great served as a first course or alongside a sandwich. For our version, we used both sharp cheddar and Jarlsberg cheeses and a nice quality, medium-bodied lager. We found that the smooth-melting Jarlsberg mellows the tangy cheddar somewhat so the cheeses pair with the beer without overpowering it. The result is a well-balanced blend of subtle flavors. For a finishing touch, top with some Garlic-Pumpernickel Croutons (recipe included).
Beer and Cheese Soup
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1-1/2 cups beer (see notes)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Garlic-Pumpernickel Croutons (see recipe below)
Heat the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Combine well and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
Whisk in the milk, one cup at a time and continue whisking until thoroughly blended and thick, about 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth and beer in the same manner and bring to simmer. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cheese, about 1/2 cup at a time. Continue cooking until all the cheese has melted and the soup is smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not boil, or the cheese may curdle. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
Ladle into individual serving bowls and top with Garlic-Pumpernickel Croutons.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
About the beer:
Just like when you cook with wine, be sure to choose a beer that you would enjoy drinking. We used Toasted Lager from Blue Point Brewing Company, a medium-bodied brew with a nice balance of malt and hops and were quite pleased with the flavor it gave our soup.
- 4 slices pumpernickel bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, quartered lengthwise
Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan and add the bread cubes. Using a spatula, toss to coat them with the butter. Continue cooking, tossing constantly, until the croutons are lightly toasted. Remove from the heat until ready to serve.