Beer Cheese and Brat Soup

Hey Everybody!  The big game is only a couple day away and I want to make sure you have some great soup to serve to you guests.  Let me start tonight by saying two things, first we had a ton of fun of preparing this post and taking pictures and the final product may be the best batch I’ve made. Yay!  Secondly, let’s get the game outta the way and I will just say that my heart is in Seattle, but my money would be on Denver.  This recipe is actually quite simple in the end and will make about 10 servings, so you may not need to cook for a few days afterward.

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Ingredients

  • Uncooked brats about 1#
  • about 1 1/2 cups each of small diced onion, carrot, and celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • about 1/2 T hot sauce (we used a homemade habanero sauce)
  • Chicken stock 2 cups, kept hot
  • Beer, the darker the better 3 cups (i used about 1 1/2 bottles, one guess where the other 1/2 went!)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 5 cups shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or a good mix of tasty, meltable ones)
  • 1T dijon mustard
  • 2t worcestershire sauce
  • 2t dry mustard

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The first step is to strip the casing off the brats.  It’s easiest to run a knife down the length of it and roll it out of the skin.  In a 2qt or larger braising pan or sauce pot cook your brats over medium heat making a point to break up the large chunks.

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Saute 3-5 minutes and add your vegetables and saute until the onions become translucent and soften up.

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At this point we are going to start adding the beer but don’t just dump it all in there!  Pour a few ounces and use your spoon(or bamboo paddle) to scrape the crispy little bits off of your pan.  As Chef Alan would say, “I’m very FOND of them!”  Those bits are called “fond” and are the cornerstone of many sauces, soups, and braises.  As all your bits are dissolved back into the liquid, you can the rest of the beer and keep this concoction warm while we start the next part.

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In a large soup/stock pot with a heavy bottom start melting your butter over med-high heat.  When it is melted and bubbly mix in your flour with a whisk.  This is called a “roux” the base thickener for many cream soups and alot of wonderful southern dishes.  We want to cook this out for 5-7 minutes so it doesn’t taste like flour.

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Slowly add the half and half to your roux.  Add only 1/2 cup at a time while whisking the entire time, so as not to scorch it.  After adding all the cream you should have a thick, almost pasty sauce.

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Remove the pot from the heat source and mix in the cheese until the whole deal is smooth.  At this point we have a really nice cheese sauce… BUT WAIT, there’s more!  I made turkey stock to use for this and some other recipes this weekend.  I have a great entry slated for next week on making stocks at home for better meals and a leaner grocery bill.  But on to finishing our current project.

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Slowly add the stock and the beer mixture to the cheese sauce.  If the soups seems to thin you can slowly bring it to a simmer to thicken up.  Do not boil, it will break.  All we need to add now is the flavoring ingredients.

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We have now added the mustards, worcestershire, and salt and pepper.  We finish with the kraut and hot sauce, and as always, taste and adjust seasoning.  Garnished with popcorn and a little paprika, this is what you should end up with.

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I hope yours turns out as fantastic as ours!

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