SPONSORED Well friends, I suppose we all spoke too soon about this whole spring thing. Call me crazy, but isn’t it mid-April? Didn't I retire my snow boots weeks ago?!? If last year’s spring was dubbed “sprummer,” it’s only appropriate to call this one “sprinter.” Fair? No. But we’ve got to get through it somehow. For me, cold-weather survival is all about warm, rich food. If I can’t have spring, I’m going to fully embrace winter, and at my house that means Beer Cheese Soup. Nothing says comfort to me like a piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly night, and with the sudden reemergence of winter, I’m going all in. Beer Cheese Soup is a favorite of mine because it encompasses two of my very favorite things: beer and cheese. Let’s be honest, it’s basically glorified cheese sauce that you get to eat with a spoon and call dinner. It is awesome. Working at Surdyk’s provides all the inspiration one could possibly require when Beer Cheese Soup is on the menu. With a selection of about 300 cheeses and more than 1000 beers from around the globe, the possibilities are virtually endless. Play around with your favorite combinations—there really are no hard and fast rules here.
Beer Cheese Soup Serves 4-6 1 medium onion, chopped Generous pat of butter Pinch of salt 2-3 tablespoons flour 1-2 bay leaves 2 bottles of your favorite beer (I prefer something on the hoppy side, such as the new Summit Unchained #12 Organic Ale) 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock) 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half Pinch of cayenne 16 oz. grated cheese (I used a mix of Vacherin Fribourgeois, Widmer's 6-year Cheddar and Fontina. Working in a Cheese Shop has its perks!) More salt and white pepper to taste Instructions:
Melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until softened. Add flour. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add bay leaves, stock, and beer. Heat until it comes to a boil. Slowly add cheese while stirring until just boiling and smooth. Add the milk and cayenne, and reduce heat to low and cook until soup has thickened. Remove bay leaves, season as needed with salt and white pepper. You'll want to serve the soup right away with generously-sized pieces of crusty bread, and, my favorite, a big handful of popcorn on top. Pop it fresh on the stove or try something a little more bold like the Cheese Shop's newest snack obsession, Crave Canyon's Aged White Cheddar and Hatch Green Chile Popcorn. Crack open a beer, and dinner is served. Hmm . . . I guess this second winter thing isn't so bad after all. —Emily Dunne, @surdykscheese