Friday, January 31, 2014

Swiss Cheese Beer Soup

Winter in Wisconsin - cold, damp, cold, snowy, windy, cold -- have I said cold? We are now naming weather systems and not just storms - Polar Vortex is being thrown around for this system that we are stuck in that keeps us below zero so many days. So what does that mean in this foodie's world???? SOUP!

I had a chunk of Swiss cheese that I wanted to make something with instead of just devouring with crackers (which I did with the previous chunk!). I found this recipe doing a quick search on Pinterest. I didn't have all the ingredients it called for but I'm great at improvising. 

I got to use the food processor for the carrots and onions (didn't have celery so I doubled the carrots). This helped the teary eyes I always get chopping onions...and cuts prep time in about a third!

 Then it's easy peasy for a bit. Let the veggies get smooshy!
 Have a sip or two of beer before you add it. I chose something a little heavier to bring out the flavor of the beer more.
Adding the flour really soaked up all the broth to make the base.
I used a whisk when adding the skim milk (not half and half to make it healthier) and I think I needed a wire or more sturdy whisk. I ended up with a lot of clumps to break apart. Eventually it smoothed out.

And I used regular yellow mustard instead of ground mustard - didn't have any in the house. I did add some garlic powder to bump up the flavor too.

I got a workout shredding the cheeses, but I have heard that when making soups, you do not use pre-shredded. It has an anti-clumping agent added to it that makes it less likely to melt nicely.
 As you can see, mine melted nicely!
 For me, the soup seemed a bit watery, so I pulled out my trusty corn starch and mixed about a 1/4 cup in. Probably too much in the long run, but I like a thick soup.
 And I added more pepper, a little chili powder for zip and it was set to eat.
After having it sit for a day in the fridge, I did still think it was a little clumpy, so I warmed it up to room temperature and ran my whipper-doodle (immersion blender) through it create a smoother texture.

You could definitely add bacon, ham, Italian sausage to this soup to take it to the next level. I like it just like this. I think a nice rye bread would be wonderful with it. I just had some french bread on the side. But this recipe goes on the "make again" list.

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