Why this recipe works:
For our Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup, milk worked better than the usual cream and half-and-half, which are both heavy, even when cut with chicken broth. As for the beer, tasters preferred the milder, less bitter flavor of American lagers, such as Miller High Life.
Low-moisture cheeses like flavorful aged cheddar are likely to break when melted—resulting in a grainy, greasy soup. Knowing that American cheese contains emulsifiers to promote melting, we found that mixing American cheese and sharp cheddar produced nongrainy melting and rich flavor. Taking a cue from packaged shredded cheese, which includes cornstarch to prevent clumping, we added a bit of cornstarch to our hand-shredded block cheeses for a smoother Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup.
Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup
You will need one 4-ounce chunk of American cheese from the deli counter for this recipe; do not use presliced or packaged shredded cheese here. Freeze the American cheese for 15 minutes to make shredding easier.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) beer (see related How to Cook)
2 cups milk, whole or low-fat
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded American cheese (see note)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper
1. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Cook onion and carrots until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, beer, and milk. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toss shredded cheeses and cornstarch in large bowl until well combined. Puree soup in blender in two batches until completely smooth, return to pot, and simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cheese mixture, one handful at a time, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days.)
This is a great soup, hearty and flavorful. I have served it with a green salad, and crusty bread or rolls. I have also put popcorn on it... fun. Probably Fritos or tortilla chips could work too.