Sunday Food: Cheese Soup

3:04 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Beer cheese soup

(Picture courtesy of Greyhawk68 at flickr.com.)

The title is a bit misleading, but since we talked about cheese soups last week for Food Sunday, I went looking for such an animal.   There are a couple of versions, and our friend, nonquixote, kindly supplied a good recipe for Wisconsin beer cheese soup.  That works!   Thank you kindly, nonquixote.

Ingredients:
½ pound butter (clarified optional)
½ cup flour (or to desired consistency)
2 quarts milk
1 ounce tabasco
1 ounce worcestershire sauce
¼ cup chicken base
12 ounces Sprecher beer – Preferably either Micro-light or Special Amber
1 cup culinary cream (optional) or heavy cream
½ ounce onion powder
½ ounce garlic powder
White pepper to taste
Salt to taste
½ pound shredded Wisconsin cheddar cheese
½ pound shredded Wisconsin Swiss cheese
½ pound shredded Wisconsin jalapeno jack cheese
Method:
In a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet, melt butter and remove from heat. Add flour and whisk until incorporated. Consistency should be like wet sand. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large soup pot heat milk to almost boiling – DO NOT BOIL. Lower heat and add tabasco, worcestershire, chicken base and beer. Incorporate well with whisk. Add cream and seasonings and heat to almost a boil again. Slowly incorporate small amounts of the butter/flour mixture to make a roux to thicken to desired consistency. Cook for 10-15 minutes. *Gradually add cheese in small handfuls making sure to thoroughly melt and incorporate each handful before adding more.
*Do not let the soup reach a temperature over 150-degrees or it will separate.
Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, serve immediately.

Allright, this week I didn’t get up to Wisconsin to get the right ingredients.   I did have potatoes, and am told that regular cheddar can be pitched in with a potato soup to make a decent kind of cheese soup.   For this lower state, I made this potato based variety, which I indulged in this past week.   Yummy, and wonderful with a quick bread.  Okay, I used a beer bread.

  1. 1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 3 pounds baking potatoes (about 6), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  4. 4 1/2 cups water
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 6 ounces cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  7. 1/4 cup chopped chives or scallion tops
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat or, if you don’t have 2 tablespoons, add enough cooking oil to make up the amount. Reduce the heat to moderately low.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove half the soup from the pan and puree in a food processor. Alternatively, mash some of the potatoes with a potato masher. Return the puree to the pan. Over low heat, add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup topped with the bacon and chives.

Any way you make a cheese soup, it will be lovely and warm fodder for a chilly day.

Making cheese soup is a sideline for me, I’m snacking away on my basic ingredient to a disgraceful extent.   Cheese is one of my favorite things to eat, in all forms.   Don’t mind me while I put a dollop of sour cream in the cheese soup to cool it off a bit.

For my kind of cheese love, just melting the cheese and dunking crackers or bread in it like fondue would be fine, too.

(Picture courtesy of vissago at flickr.com.)

The Cheese