Cooking with Beer: Tangy Cheese Soup & Beer Bread
Last month we cooked with cocoa, and today in honor of Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day I’m cooking with beer. Because it is made from grain, beer can add a great hearty flavor to your dishes. This soup and bread are a perfect meal for these unpredictable, blustery days in March. The soup is buttery, dense, and slightly sweet. The crust? It’s to die for. It’s a perfect compliment to this soup, which is not too heavy, and bursting with the rich flavors of vegetables, garlic, mustard, and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s smooth, tangy, and has a tiny kick from the red pepper flakes. Go now, grab a couple of bottles of beer and see what you can turn them into. You’ll thank me later.
Tangy Cheese Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup beer
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Melt butter in a large pot on medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir until combined. Add chicken broth, beer, and water and raise heat to medium high, stirring occasionally. Bring to a low boil and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add half-and-half and shredded cheese, stirring until cheese is completely melted. Add mustard, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Use a hand emulsion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Taste before adding salt.
HINT: Soups are always better if they have several hours to simmer. To avoid scorching the cheese, simmer your broth and vegetable base for as long as possible before adding the remaining ingredients.
HINT: Add lump crab, lobster, or cubed potatoes for a delicious chowder.
Easy Beer Bread
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 ounces beer (one can or bottle)
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add beer and stir until completely incorporated. Dough will be thick and sticky. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter and transfer the dough, spreading it as evenly as possible in the pan. Melt the butter and pour evenly over the dough. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until brown and crusty on top. Remove from oven and transfer immediately to a cooling rack. Serve and enjoy.