Beer Cheese Soup
servings: 4; makes 8 cups of soup
- Four 6-inch-round loaves sourdough bread
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)
- 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- One 12-ounce beer, pilsner or your choice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- 8 ounces American cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare the bread bowls by slicing the top inch or top third of each sourdough loaf. With a paring knife, cut a circle about an inch from the edge all the way around the loaf, being careful to leave about an inch of bread on the bottom as well. Gently remove the bread from inside the loaf, reserving it for another use.
- Brush the insides of the bowls with melted butter or olive oil, or spray them with olive oil spray, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake until the bread bowls are warmed and begin to brown—12 to 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel the squash. Cut it in half and then use a soupspoon to scoop out the seeds. Chop the flesh into 1-inch cubes; you should have about 3 cups of squash cubes. Remove the base of the stem and leaves from the head of cauliflower and roughly chop into florets; you should have about 4 cups of florets. Set the veggies aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper and sauté until the veggies are tender—5 to 7 minutes. Add the beer and cook for 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan if necessary.
- Add the squash, cauliflower, stock and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the pot. Cover the pot and let the mixture cook until all the vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally—about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the soup to a blender, working in batches if necessary, and blend until it is very smooth. Place the soup back in the pot over low heat, then stir in the cheddar, American, and parmesan cheeses. Continue stirring until all of the cheeses are melted, then stir in the cream. Taste the soup and add up to another teaspoon of salt if needed (this is dependent on how salty your stock and cheese are).