As many of you know, I went to school in Wisconsin. There are many things that Wisconsin is known for and high on the list are cheese, beer, and brats. During my five years in Wisconsin I became deeply acquainted with each of these delicacies and we developed a long lasting friendship that I hope never ends. As soon as I got these chicken bratwursts, courtesy of Goldn’ Plump, I knew I had to do more than simply stick it on a bun. So I decided on a hearty soup! What immediately comes to mind when I think of bratwurst is obviously beer. And when I think of beer I think of cheese. So voila! Beer cheese soup!
The thing I love about cooking is as soon as you figure out the method you can go anywhere from there. Soups are a perfect example of this. Once I figured out a long time ago that I should sauté my vegetables then make a roux, add the broth, and cheese comes last, I was set. And that was how this beer cheese brat soup was born.
There’s this restaurant in Madison, WI, called the Old Fashioned that I absolutely adore and they have a fantastic beer cheese soup. They puree all of the vegetables and top the soup with popcorn. I used that delicious memory as a basis for what I wanted my soup to taste like. I wanted it to be cheesy and beery and stick to the sides of your stomach as you ate it. Check. Check. And check. Traditionally beer cheese soup is puréed, however I tend to like my vegetables a little chunky in soups so I know they’re there, so I only puréed about half. You can choose to purée them all or even none at all, your choice. As for the beer, I wish I could have used a New Glarus Spotted Cow for the recipe, but since they don’t sell it in Illinois I used Sam Adams a few times and PBR the others. Use whatever you have on hand but make sure it’s a beer you like because you’ll definitely taste it!
So far I’ve made this recipe 4 times and it was a hit with everyone who tried it. It looks like it’s going to be a staple in my house and I hope in yours, too!
1.25 lbs Gold’n Plump Chicken Bratwurst (5 links, cut into 1/2 inch rounds)
1 1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 (12 oz.) bottle of beer
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook sausage over medium-high heat until cooked through and brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and place in a medium bowl. Make sure to leave all the sausage dripping goodness in the large pot. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low. Melt the butter in the pan. Then, add the carrots, celery and onion and cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft and translucent. Then, add the garlic and stir while it cooks for another 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the flour, stirring until it gets thick and light brown in color, about 2 minutes. Add in the ground mustard, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard and beer. Give it a good stir to make sure everything combines. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
This next part is optional. Take an immersion blender (or place soup in the food processor) and pulse until the vegetables are ground fine. I did part of my soup like this because I like it chunky, but you could puree the entire soup or you don’t have to do this at all! It’s preference.
Now, add the cheese, milk and cream to the soup and stir to combine. Then add the brats back into the soup. Let simmer for 20 minutes so the flavors can meld, giving it a quick stir every once in awhile.
Serve with crusty bread, or as traditionally, popcorn!
An A Dash of Megnut Original