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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stone Beer Cheese Soup

These weeks need to stop flying by! I suppose it's my own fault for cramming one activity or another into every hour of the day, but still, ugh. It seems like just yesterday that I made the beer cheese soup, but in reality, it was over a week ago. Luckily, time doesn't fade the deliciousness of gooey cheese mixed with a kick of beer.

At least there were 3 cups of vegetables (onion, celery and parsnip) pureed in the soup to combat the cheddar, blue cheese, and heavy cream.

Given that the Stone Ruination could have been too bitter and I preferred to drink as much of the smoked porter as I could, I decided that the Stone Cali-Belgique would be the best in the soup.

I've never made beer cheese soup before, so I got the recipe from a fellow blogger friend, Food for my Family, who got it from Emeril. The soup was quite easy to make, but did take an hour to simmer, which had me running late for dinner.

Popcorn makes the best topping in my opinion; make sure you serve it on the side and add just a few pieces at a time for a bit of crispiness. Everyone really liked the soup except for my 3 year old niece. Instead, she just filled up on popcorn, which wasn't much of a surprise. I'd make the soup again, but it really isn't the healthiest. I suppose l'll have to find a healthier way to cook with beer. Until then...enjoy this sinful soup:

Beer Cheese Soup
(serves 4-6)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped parsnip
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock
12 ounces Stone Brewery Cali-Belgique IPA
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cracked pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Freshly popped popcorn, for garnish

Heat oil over low heat in a large pot, add vegetables and cover. Cook vegetables for 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add flour slowly, stirring after each ¼ cup to remove any lumps. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Using a whisk, add vegetable stock and beer, bay leaf, cayenne pepper and cracked pepper.

Slowly bring to a boil, watching carefully. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, one hour. Remove bay leaf. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender in batches, puree the soup until smooth. Return to pot and stir in heavy cream. Slowly stir in cheese, allowing time in between additions for soup to come back up to temperature. Add salt and additional pepper to taste. Top with freshly popped popcorn.

Disclosure: The beer used in the soup was sent to me by Stone Brewing Company. I was not obligated to write a post.


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