This ultracreamy beer-cheese soup screams for a bread bowl. Here, smoked Gouda replaces the ubiquitous sharp cheddar and lends each spoonful a delicate meaty flavor; an IPA and roasted red repper add subtle bitterness that cuts the gooey texture.
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup jarred, roasted red peppers
- 1 12-ounce bottle IPA
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 stick butter, sliced into pats
- 1⁄2 cup Wondra or flour
- 3 cups milk, 1% or 2%
- 6 cups smoked Gouda, grated
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper salt, to taste
• Place the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, roasted peppers, IPA and chicken stock into a large soup pot and bring to a strong simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.
• As the vegetables simmer, make the cheese base. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. When it is completely melted, whisk in the flour; the mixture should look like wet sand. Whisk until the mixture is khaki-colored and fragrant, then add the milk and whisk constantly until smooth. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, and gently whisk in the cheese and cayenne pepper until smooth.
• Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a blender or food processor, purée the vegetable-beer-stock mixture. Carefully pour the cheese mixture into the puréed vegetable mixture and whisk until smooth. Reduce the heat to medium and bring the soup just to a simmer, then remove from heat, season with salt to taste and serve.