Sunday, October 05, 2008

Brat, Beer and Cheese Soup on a dreary day...

We ended up with 8 new recipes coming from the kitchen this week - our picks this time were those Maple Walnut Thumbprint Cookies, that enormous Meaty Deep-Dish Pizza, and the Peanut Energy Bars we made yesterday.

If you were uncertain that fall has arrived, it definitely has up here in Minnesota! Saturday morning we woke up to frost and today has just been pretty dreary and rainy. We definitely needed something hearty, warming and comforting to fill us up tonight!

Soup was definitely in order... but I needed to find a recipe that had some weight to it - after flipping through some of our options, we both decided this Brat, Beer and Cheese Soup fit the bill, especially since I didn't need to buy anything extra!

Inside of our big Dutch oven, sliced carrots, chopped celery and onion bounce around in olive oil until they were quite tender. A couple cloves of minced garlic were tossed in, and as soon as it's aroma was present, all-purpose flour is sprinkled over the vegetable mixture and allowed to cook out for just a minute to remove it's raw taste. A pound of cubed russet potatoes were added, followed by a combination of chicken broth and a bottle of beer (preference is up to you - whichever favorite kind that you think would add a pleasant depth should do well). After the potatoes were given a chance to become tender, yet still retain some texture, the soup is seasoned with a bit of chipotle pepper for a smoky heat, along with mustard powder for an intriguing background.

For a creamy edge with a bite, milk and just a touch of Worcestershire sauce is stirred it - if you are feeling a little decadent, swirl in some half-and-half instead of the milk... that was my plan at least, until the container I pulled out of the refrigerator was empty (! - and it wasn't me who put an empty container back). A few generous handfuls of cheddar cheese are slowly stirred in, off heat, to melt into the soup for a sharp contrast. A couple cups worth of the vegetables are then removed from the soup and pureed to give the soup a voluptuous body. If you wanted a soup that was more thin, skip this part, but we both agreed that the added texture was worth that step. Cooked and sliced links of bratwurst sausage were added to the soup, along with the puree, and the pot was placed back over the heat long enough to warm everything through.

The beer brought a subtle, but noticeable, background tang to the soup that caught our attention - the soup also definitely benefited from that thicker body with those pureed vegetables. It helped to suspend those remaining chunky pieces so they didn't fall right to the bottom. In this homey and very comforting soup, if the brats don't get you excited, how about using kielbasa or going the more smoky route by crisping up a few slices of bacon to add on top first, then using their drippings to soften the vegetables?


  1. The soup looks great, I love hearty recipes like this.

  2. Sara - Thanks! It warmed us right up!

  3. Joe- this sounds really delicious. My kind of soup on a chilly day! We had one of those yesterday but went out to dinner instead :(

  4. Soup....yummy! Our weather here in GA has been wonderful. We are still desperate for rain. Stay well!

  5. Is it weird to want a bowl of this for breakfast? Because I'd love to have one! ; )

  6. I have this on the menu for later this week. Usually you can't go wrong with a good beer-cheese soup in the Fall. Glad to hear it turned out.

  7. This sounds like something the hubby would looove! I may have to make it for him for a football day or something like that.

  8. I can't quite remember how I found your blog originally, but I'm glad I did! This soup recipe sounds outstanding-- perfect for fall! Nice pictures, too-- thanks! :)

  9. Oh my, please excuse the drool, but this soup is calling out to me! I'll be adding this one to the menu very soon. Yum.

  10. Lori - Sometimes you just gotta go out!

    Janice - I'll try and push some of this rain your way!

    Susan - I don't think so! Sounds good to me.

    Kristin - I agree! Good timing on this one.

    Erika - Good football food for sure (I guess anyway... I don't watch).

    TPP - Thanks for checkin' out the site!

    Alysha - hee hee! I hope you get a chance to try it out!

  11. Hi Joe,

    This looks amazing! I starred this one and have come back to it now that the weather is getting a bit cooler in Boston. I don't have a Dutch oven, is it okay to just use a big soup pot? Also, I'm a beginner when it comes to peppers and spicy stuff. I can't seem to find chipotles at my regular store. Would you recommend Whole Foods, etc.? Thanks for the advice and the great recipes! I always enjoy checking out your blog.

  12. Caitlin - Yes, a soup pot would be fine. The chipotle pepper for this recipe is a ground spice - you can find it at Penzeys, Whole Foods or a variety of other stores. It is not spicy, but rather smoky and deep.