Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Souper Bowl

The Green Bay Packers are in the Super Bowl!!!!

Like most fans, it has taken me some time to really believe it, but now I’m celebrating. And what better way to celebrate than with some essence of Green Bay. How about a beer and cheese soup? How about we put some bratwurst in there as well?

If you’re extremely health-conscious (or a Pittsburgh Steelers fan) you might want to look away now. This isn’t exactly light fare, although I did take the creamy sausage-y cheesy-ness down a notch from the original recipe. You could always take back some of the calories by adding more cheese and more bratwurst or by using whole milk or cream. In that case, you might want to reserve this soup for special occasions, such as these. We want you to still be around to experience the next time the Packers are in the Super Bowl.

This soup is pretty fast to make. The aromatics (onions, carrots and celery) are cooked slowly in the pan before adding any of the liquid. That way, the soup doesn’t have to cook much once the dairy products and thickening flour are added. I’ve make longer-cooking thick soups before and ended up with a lot of burned gunk on the bottom of the pan.

There’s lots of great flavor in this soup, with the sharpness of the cheddar balanced by the bitterness of the beer and supported by the meaty bratwurst. Since there’s nothing to hide the beer and cheese, however, it will only be as good as the ingredients you put in it. Wisconsin cheddar is preferred, of course. Vermont or Irish cheddars are good as well, but you didn’t hear that from me, at least not this week. I must admit I used an imported pale ale, simply because someone is going to have to drink the rest of the 6-pack and I had to choose something that was palatable to the only beer-drinker in the household (not me.) The beer has no time to cook away in this recipe, so you’re better off with something you like (and demanding photo ID from anyone to whom you serve it.)

Even if you aren’t from Wisconsin (I’m not, but I’ve lived near one Wisconsin border or another for most of my life) I think you can appreciate the great combination of beer and cheese and sausage. All this meal needs is some rye bread and sauerkraut (I served a vinegary slaw instead of the kraut.) And even if this isn’t the kind of high-in-saturated-fat dish you’d typically eat every day (you probably shouldn’t), this is a celebration, because have you heard?


Beer Cheese Soup with Bratwurst
Based on a recipe in Midwest Living magazine

I used fresh Johnsonville brand Beer n’ Bratwurst, which I first par-boiled then browned to cook it through and give it some color. Fully cooked bratwurst or smoked sausages would probably be good here as well.

2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped peeled carrot
½ cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, coarsely crushed
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth or stock, preferably unsalted or reduced-sodium
1 cup milk (I used 2%) or half and half
2 links cooked bratwurst, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 12-ounce can or bottle beer, preferably pale ale or lager
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 2 ½ cups

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the caraway seeds and black pepper.

3. Slowly stir in the broth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve any lumps of flour, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk and cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir frequently, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent any sticking.

4. Add the bratwurst and beer and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, just until the cheese melts.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Other recipes like this one: Corn Chowder with Edamame, Sausage and Spinach Soup

One year ago: Potatoes Anna with Hidden Beets

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