Okay. The beer cheese soup.
It is seriously one of my favorite parts about chilly temperatures.
Two years ago, I was sitting up at the bar of an Irish pub at Chateau Elan, a winery outside of Atlanta GA. I was traveling for business -- I don't normally seek out Irish pubs mid-week, ha. It was rainy and gross outside, and a bowl of hot soup sounded just about perfect.
When I tasted their beer cheese soup, I seriously considered ordering a second bowl. It was that good. I hesitantly asked the bartender if she would see if there was any way that the chef would share his recipe.
Next thing I knew, he was out of the kitchen, standing in front of me and writing down this recipe on some receipt paper. He scaled it down from the large restaurant portion to one that will easily serve two with lots of leftovers. Everything got scaled down except for the heavy cream as you'll see in the photo below. More on that later.
With a name like beer cheese soup, you know that the beer taste is a pretty distinct one. The chef called for "2 bottles Bud" but I decided last week to use some local brews in mine -- OMB's Mecktoberfest.
Beer Cheese Soup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bags shredded cheddar
2 bottles beer
1/2 pint heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
So, you'll start off by making a roux. I shied away from anything that mentioned "roux" for years and years. But no need to be be shy like I was; a roux is a fancy word for just mixing equal parts of a fat with flour over medium heat. In this case, you just melt the butter then whisk in the flour. Simple.
The roux acts like a thickening agent for the soup. Once the roux is mixed in your big pot, add in the garlic and onion.
When the garlic and onion are golden, add in the cayenne, beer, and the cheese.
Ignore the 4 quarts of heavy cream in the handwritten recipe -- about half of this pint will be all you need.
Season it up with a little salt and pepper to taste. I like mine pretty salty. I added in ten little pinches of salt until it tasted "right." This may be too salty for you.
We go pretty simple with ours -- a hunk of bread or a biscuit is all you really need to make a fantastic meal of it.