Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup

Happy Friday guys, and while I’m at it, happy first day of March!

As I was going through my drafts folder deciding on posts for this week, I realized I still had this Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup hiding out. And while it’s still very much soup weather here (much to my dismay, I am so over gray and dreary), I figure more spring-like weather is probably on the horizon in other parts of the country. So before you move on to lighter fare, I wanted to share this comforting soup because it really is fantastic. Maybe that’s not too shocking considering there’s a whole pound of cheese among the ingredients – any time a recipe starts like that it’s probably safe to assume you’re in for a treat!

Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup

I didn’t realize until I was well into making this recipe that it’s very similar to the other cheddar ale soup recipe on this site. I’m fully of the opinion you can never have too many cheesy beer soups though, right? I’d had this recipe on my to-do list for a while and when my friends at Cabot sent me some of their cheeses recently, it only seemed fitting to make them the star of whatever dish I utilized them in, and that’s very much the case here. The flavor of the cheese is front and center, so be sure to use something you love.

Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup

I’ve never been to Wisconsin but apparently it’s known for its cheese and beer so combining the two to make soup is popular. The popcorn garnish is traditional too, at least based on what I hear! I loved the texture it added to this otherwise smooth and creamy soup. You can make the soup ahead of time and reheat it for a really quick and easy dinner on a lazy winter night. If cheese is your thing, comfort food doesn’t get much better than this.

Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup
from Cook’s Country, December/January 2009

{Note: Skip the pre-shredded bags of cheese – instead buy a block of cheddar and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded won’t melt as well or provide as much flavor. For the American cheese called for in this recipe, buy a 4 oz block from the deli (just ask them not to slice it) and shred it yourself. As for the beer, any American lager will work.}

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (12 oz) bottle beer
2 cups milk (low fat is fine)
12 oz (3 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz (1 cup) shredded American cheese
2 teaspoons cornstarch
popcorn, to garnish

Add the butter to a Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt, then add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and both the carrots and onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cooking just until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for a minute or two to eliminate the raw flavor. Gradually add the chicken broth, beer, and the milk, whisking constantly to incorporate and ensure you don’t have any lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and continue simmering until the carrots are softened, about 25 minutes (be sure not to let the mixture boil).

While the soup simmers, add all of the cheese to a large bowl and sprinkle with the cornstarch – toss to coat.

When the carrots are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth (alternatively, you could do this in a traditional blender, probably in two batches). Place the pot back on the stove top over medium-low heat. Gradually add the cheese, whisking until melted and smooth before adding more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with popcorn, if desired.

{Disclosure: Cabot provided cheese to me at no cost, but this is not a sponsored post and the opinions expressed are my own. I only mention products here when I really love them, and I’ve been hooked on Cabot for years. Plus they’re a local New England company which makes me happy :) }