When my daughter-in-law texts me the “clapping hands” emoticon after I’ve sent a bowl of soup home with her, I know I’ve got a good recipe on my hands. While the tweaks and fiddles are fresh in mind, here’s my version of Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup.
- olive oil
- 3 cups onions, finely minced onion (about 2 large)
- 3 cups celery, finely minced
- 5 large carrots, finely minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 3 cups pale ale beer
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups half 'n half or milk
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 3 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 - 1 TBSP Tabasco or Tapatio sauce (I used 1/2 TBSP of each)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 10 cups shredded sharp cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot, add a few glugs of olive oil and heat for a minute or two.
- Add the minced onions, celery and carrots and saute over medium heat for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are tender.
- Add minced garlic and let cook another two minutes.
- Add the butter to the vegetables and stir until melted.
- Add the flour to the pot and stir to absorb the butter. Let this mixture cook ten minutes. Stir frequently.
- Slowly add the beer and then chicken broth, stirring to combine. Season with the Tabasco, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, and both mustards. Continue cooking over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes to let flavors combine.
- Reduce heat to low and slowly add half 'n half or milk. From this point on, do not let the soup boil or the dairy products will curdle.
- Add sharp cheese by handfuls, stirring to melt. Add parmesan, taste, and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- If desired, garnish with croutons or bits of bacon. If you do choose to garnish with bacon, use the bacon grease to replace some or all of the butter above.
* True Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup contains beer, and it really does add a flavor you can't get otherwise. Plus, with all that cooking, the alcohol cooks off, leaving only the beer flavor. But if you'd rather not use beer, you can replace those three cups with more broth. Just know it won't be as authentic. 😀
It probably goes without saying, but this is a highly bread-dunkable soup.
Best made the day before, or you can make early in the day and keep warm in the crock pot.