Cheddar Cheese Soup

A few years ago, our family took our first trip to Walt Disney World. As a kid, I wasn’t too excited about EPCOT and the World Showcase. As an adult, I loved it. Especially since we travelled during the Food & Wine Festival. We also participated in the Disney Dining Plan, and boy did we eat. And eat. And eat.

For readers that don’t know much about me, I love Disney. And I love cheese. So it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite dishes in all of Disney World was the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup served at Le Cellier Steakhouse. So delicious. And then a year after our visit, Disney published this wonderful recipe as part of their Food & Wine Festival promotions. Here it is for you in all it’s delicious, cheesy glory. Enjoy.

One note: as regular readers know, we prefer veggie broth to chicken broth in our cooking. That’s the only change I make to this soup.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound of bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock [we use veggie broth]
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • Course salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup pale ale, room temperature
  • Chopped scallions or chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. Cook bacon in a 4- or 5-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion, celery, and butter. Sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour and stir constantly for about 4 minutes.
  4. Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add milk and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. (Do not boil after adding milk,)
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper until cheese is melted and soup is smooth. Stir in ale. If soup is too think, thin to desired consistency with warm milk.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with scallion or chives.

Makes about 6 cups.

30 March 2015
We just made this again tonight. Two notes to the recipe:

Note 1: In step 4, I found that the 3 cups of broth wasn’t quite enough; the mixture is very thick. I slowly added a little extra broth several times while it was simmering, I probably ended up at about 3 1/2 cups.

Note 2: We are not Pale Ale drinkers. We use Kona Brewing Company’s Longboard Lager when we make this soup.

Easy Beef Chili

We love to cook soups, stews, and chili in the winter. I have a meatless chili that my husband and I have enjoyed for years. Last winter, my boys wanted to eat chili, but weren’t interested in all those veggies. Here’s what we came up with. I got the basics from The Pioneer Woman, and then we added our own spin.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Two 14.5-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • One 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 2/3 cup Guinness beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tobasco sauce (could use cayenne pepper)
  • One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings

  • Shredded cheddar
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges
  • Sour cream

Directions

I used a big dutch oven to cook this. Put in the ground beef, onion, and garlic; cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off excess fat, then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Guinness, and spices. Cover, reduce heat to low. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. If the chili looks too think, you can add water. Finally, add the beans and simmer another 30 minutes. Serve in individual bowls, topped with any desired toppings. Delicious with corn bread or beer bread.

Walnut Brewery’s Asiago Cheese Dip & Beer Bread

Boulder, CO is the home of the Walnut Brewery. Somehow over the years they were associated (bought out?) with Rock Bottom Brewery. Same menu, but Walnut kept their different name. In college my husband and I loved to go to the Walnut for their beer and the Asiago Cheese Dip appetizer with beer bread. They still make their own beer, but unfortunately, they don’t have the cheese dip on the menu anymore!

In 2000, one of the Rock Bottom restaurants shared the Asiago Cheese Dip recipe with a local paper, and I happened to run across it on the internet. While you can not longer order this app at the restaurant, at least you can make it at home. And on a personal note, we don’t like mushrooms, so I leave those out!

Walnut Brewery Asiago Cheese Dip 

  • 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese, plus shredded Asiago cheese for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onions (cleaned, rinsed, and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms (rinsed and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

Squeeze all water our of tomatoes, then julienne cut into fine strips. it is important that all water be removed from tomatoes, and they must be added last, or dip will discolor.

Combine remaining ingredients, except tomatoes and cheese for garnish, in food processor. blend well at low speed. Add tomatoes and slowly mix by hand for about 1 minute. When ready to serve, heat through in microwave oven. Remove from microwave and sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Put in broiler and heat until cheese browns. Makes 3 cups.

Walnut Brewery Beer Bread

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 9 1/2 oz pale ale beer
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced (green part only)
  • 10 oz jalapenos, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter to coat bread

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add beer and mix well.

Add cheese, onion, and jalapenos, if using. Batter will be stiff.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly coat 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Transfer batter to pan, spreading evenly. Brush top of bread with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven about 45 minutes or until bread is light brown. Remove from oven and cool. When cool, cut bread into 1/4-inch thick slices.

When ready to serve, put bread slices in broiler and heat until browned, about 1 minute. Makes one loaf.

 

Beer Bread

Love, love, love this bread. I clipped it from the CookSmart column of USA Weekend last year. Unlike most breads, this one takes about an hour in total to make. Very easy and delicious. We make it so much I have the recipe hanging on the refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tb. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsps. salt
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add beer (no sips!) and stir with a fork until just combined. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead quickly to form a ball. Place bread on a baking sheet and confidently slit an X on top with a serrated or very sharp knife. Brush loaf with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve.