Monday, November 7, 2011

Beer and Cheddar Soup

I am taking a few days off from work while they paint my lab and put in a new ceiling, so for lunch today I made soup.

Beer and Cheddar Soup

½ pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3 inch dice
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
About 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
½ pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over mederate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2¼ cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

  2. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.
Let me tell you, it was pretty delicious. I was concerned that the beer flavor might be overpowering, but it wasn't. Tom tasted it and said (what's new?) that it needed salt. Well, I forgot to season it. He also commented that there might be a little too much heat, and he might suffer for it tomorrow, but he's very sensitive that way. Despite Tom's comments, he did say it was very good. I agree, and it was easy to make.

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