I enjoy making soup and find that few people will turn soup away. Of course, the trick is to match up the right soup with the right people. A chilled cucumber soup would not be something I’d serve to a mixed crowd during a sporting event. No. So when the Super Bowl arrived, along with this recipe by email from Tasting Table, I knew I had to try it. I pumped up nutrition (as much as one can in a soup that consists of beer and cheese) and taste, by adding extra ingredients. We all enjoyed it very much. Here is my version.
Kräftig Beer Cheese Soup
Adapted from Tasting Table
1½ cups whole milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 shallots, chopped
1 small Melissa’s fennel bulb, sliced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 dried bay leaf
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Kräftig Lager beer, room temperature
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 pound sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
¼ cup Parmigianino, grated
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled (for garnish)
Fennel sprig (for garnish), optional
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine milk and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low to keep the mixture warm.
In a soup pot set over medium heat, add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Heat until butter is melted, and swirl with the oil to incorporate the two. Add the carrots, celery, onion, shallots, fennel, garlic and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes.
Slowly pour in the warm milk-broth mixture, whisking constantly to avoid forming lumps. Whisk in the beer and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and monitoring the heat so the soup simmers but doesn’t boil (boiling causes the soup to separate). Remove the bay leaf and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. While stirring constantly, gradually add the cheeses, salt, and pepper.
Using an immersion blender, blend soup to desired consistency. I like my soup a little chunky, so didn’t continue to blend until it was completely smooth. Control is the beauty of the immersion blender.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve topped with the fennel tops and bacon.
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