BEER CHEDDAR SOUP (WITH A KICK OF COUNTRY HAM)

Beer Cheddar Soup was on the menu but not of the “country ham” variety. However, since I bought too much of this Southern delight for my  Country Ham and Tomato Quiche, I decided to cut back on the bacon in this recipe and add the extra kick of country ham. Yum! A couple things to note: one of my guys thought this was “too hot,” so this recipe calls for fewer jalapenos than what I used; since country ham is quite salty, you probably won’t need to add salt. Eat on!

Beer Cheddar Soup (with a kick of country ham)

8 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces

4 oz country ham, cut into 1/2″ pieces (I buy the biscuit-sized pieces)

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

2 bottles of beer (I used O’Doul’s non-alcoholic)

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Optional toppings: cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced jalapenos (for those who like it “too hot”)

1) In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon and country ham 4-5 minutes until pieces begin to crisp

2) Lower heat to medium; add onion, celery, jalapenos, and thyme; cook 8-10 minutes

3) Add butter and melt; gradually sprinkle flour over top and, stirring continuously, cook 2 minutes

4) Stir in beer and chicken broth and cook 10 minutes

5) Stir in half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and cheese; cook 8 minutes, stirring often

6) Serve it up (I’m hooked on my cast iron soup bowls with their cute pail handles)

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions/8 side portions

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 05/01/12

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SHARP CHEDDAR BEER SOUP

I can’t decide which I like better: Loaded Baked Potato Soup or Cheddar Beer Soup. Both are winners in my (cook) book. Though I typically use basic sharp cheddar cheese when I whip up one of these soups, I decided to spread around the love and added white sharp cheddar cheese to the pot. I won’t say there’s much–if any–difference in the taste, but the color is more mellow. As for the taste…delicious!

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup diced onion

2 stalks celery, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

12 oz beer (I used non-alcoholic O’Doul’s)

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp dry mustard

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1-1/2 cups grated white sharp cheddar cheese

8 slices turkey bacon, fried crisp and chopped

2 cups croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)

1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (for topping)

1) To large pot over medium-high heat, add butter; when melted, add onions and celery; cook 8-10 minutes until onion softens; sprinkle flour over onions and celery and stir continuously while cooking 2-3 minutes

2) Reduce heat to medium and stir in beer, scraping up brown bits on bottom of pot; stir in chicken broth, cream, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce; cook 10 minutes, stirring often

3) Reduce heat to low; stir in both cheeses; when cheeses have melted (about 5 minutes), stir in bacon and remove from heat

4) Pour soup into bowls and top with grated cheese and croutons; serve and settle in for a fabulously filling meal

Servings: 4-6 (How hungry are you?)