Yes, you heard right. Beer and Cheddar. When you hear that combination, one might immediately think of Wisconsin. I am cool with that. Beer and cheese is a great combination, however you place it. I have made a couple of dishes using beer and cheese (soup) (appetizer) in the past, and they were really delicious, so I thought I would take something seasonal, in this case, cauliflower, and turn it into a soup. After all, it is soup season in Wisconsin. The weather has been in the 40’s and 50’s, overcast, and just pretty ugly, which screams soup, in my opinion.
This soup is really easy to make, and has a nice richness that keep you comfy on a gloomy day.
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 bulb of roasted garlic (1 tbsp olive oil, course salt, foil)
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
- generous pinch of salt
- generous pinch of black pepper
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, stem removed
- 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups of milk
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream (optional)
- 12 oz beer
- 1 tbsp of thyme
- large bread cubes
- olive oil
Begin by warming your soup pan. Melt the butter, and add in your onion. Cook until the onion softens and begins to turn color. Add in the bulbs of roasted garlic, and with your cooking utensil, mash into the onion and butter. Continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add in the flour, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Cook another few minutes, making sure all of the flour gets incorporated. Add in your stock, milk, beer, and cream. Mix well, and lower the heat to low. Add in the cauliflower florets, and cook until the cauliflower becomes nice and tender, about 30 minutes.
During this time, toss the bread cubes with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the thyme to the mix. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and add the cubes to a baking sheet. Cook until golden brown, roughly 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Now that the cauliflower is tender. You are going to add this soup to a blender, and break down the cauliflower. Do this in batches. I typically do two batches, placing the first batch in another bowl, then do a final transfer back to the soup pot. You have options now when using the blender. You can go with a full blown smoothness, or you can keep a bit of the cauliflower for texture, which is what I prefer. Keep in mind that when you are using a blender with hot ingredients inside, to use a towel over the top as pressure will quickly build up. You want the soup to stay in the blender, and not all over your kitchen. Pulse a few times, then transfer to the bowl, repeat, and and everything back to the soup pot.
Bring the soup back to temperature, then add the cheddar cheese. Cook on low until the cheese is nice and smooth. Ladle into your soup bowls and top with the thyme croutons. Smooth and rich, with a nice scent of beer. This is truly a wonderful soup that will get your guests talking. Enjoy.