Irish Beer Cheese Soup ~ if you’ve never had, you’re in for a treat. I recently had some cheddar beer soup from my grocery and man, was it good. With St. Pat’s Day coming up and all things Irish in the air, I decided to tweak that midwestern version by using some Irish beer and Irish cheese.
This is a fairly simple and straightforward soup to make at home. The hardest part for me was grating all the cheese by hand, not my thing. I usually ask Meathead to do it but he wasn’t home, darn.
The soup starts with sautéing some onion, celery and garlic, some seasoning, and then butter and flour. Basically, it’s a very flavorful roux. The onions, celery and garlic need to be very finely diced, so I recommend using the food processor. It does the job, it’ll look a little mushy, but that’s what you want so the soup is smooth, no bits of onion and celery floating around in it. I do this all the time for Italian gravy, my friend taught me so years ago.
Once the roux is done, time to add the chicken stock, beer and milk ~ then all that glorious cheese. Stir, keep stirring, and in about 20 minutes you’ll have beer cheese soup. Finish it off with some Dijon mustard and Worcestershire, and then be prepared to ooh and aah over that first spoonful.
Irish Beer Cheese Soup, a perfect winter soup and St. Patrick’s Day treat. You can serve it in a bread bowl if you wish, topped with scallions, snipped chives, toasted sourdough croutons or even bacon. This is such a beautifully simple soup, rich and full of flavor ~ comfort in a (bread) bowl.
Irish Beer Cheese Soup
- 2 tbsp butter (or bacon drippings)
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced/grated (1½ cups) See Recipe Notes
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced/grated (include a few leaves) See Recipe Notes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or microplaned
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup butter (about 5 T) ~ I use Kerrygold salted butter
- ⅓ cup flour
- 32 oz chicken stock, preferably homemade (4 cups)
- 1 12-oz bottle Irish lager-style beer, like Harp
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 lb Irish cheese, like Dubliner, coarsely shredded (6 cups)
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
- For Garnish: sliced scallions, snipped chives, toasted fresh croutons or bacon crumbles
- Optional: mini sourdough bread bowls for serving
- In large enameled cast iron stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons butter (or bacon grease) over medium heat. Add onion, celery and bay leaf and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper and cayenne and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir and cook 1 more minute.
- With a wooden spoon or flat whisk, slowly stir in the stock, then the beer, then the milk to combine. Lastly, add the cheese slowly, stirring to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high, continue stirring to almost a boil. Reduce heat back down to medium, cook and stir frequently until cheese is mixed in well and melted, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in mustard and Worcestershire; taste for salt. Serve garnished with scallions, chives, croutons and/or crumbled bacon, in a bread bowl, if desired.
- Irish Dubliner cheese is sweet, nutty, grainy and sharp. Any sharp white cheddar will work.
- Using a food processor will get the onion and celery finely chopped, almost mushy, which is what you want for this soup. Roughly chop the onion and celery first, in order to get an even dice in the processor.
- You can use bacon drippings to cook the onions/celery mixture instead of butter (then you'll have bacon crumbles for topping!)
Recipe adapted from Simply Schnucks