Loaded Beer Cheese Soup
During the winter months, there’s nothing I love more than enjoying a piping hot bowl of soup. This January, I’ll be sharing five soup recipes, one every Tuesday, that are some of my favorites to make during the frigid months. With a move to Northern Michigan on the horizon, I’ve been brushing up on new soup and stew recipes, honing in on the perfect blend of flavors. This week, I pulled together an incredible Loaded Beer Cheese Soup that’s one for the record books. This thick, cheddar based soup is loaded with chicken, bacon, and a blend of spices that are crave-worthy.
To start, I diced up a whole package of bacon and cooked it until crispy in my French oven. I added about 3/4 a cup of water while it was still raw to ensure bacon bits that are the perfect crispy texture.
Using a slotted spoon, I removed the bacon from the pan and set it aside. I drained out about 3/4 of the leftover fat and then added about a pound of diced boneless skinless chicken breast to the pot.
Once the chicken was cooked through completely, I removed it and set it aside with the bacon.
I added several tablespoons of butter to the pot with the leftover fat and let it melt completely.
Then I added in some flour to make a quick rue. And I also added in some garlic powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, whisking the entire time to ensure the mixture didn’t clump or burn.
I added in about a cup of Belgian-style wheat beer and whisked it into the rue, letting it cook for a couple of minutes. This mixture gets very thick and gooey, but is the flavor base for the soup and so tasty!
Next I added some chicken stock and half-and-half, whisking to combine everything together.
From here, I reduced my heat to medium-low and let the mixture come to a slight boil. Then I stirred in some shredded cheddar cheese, a little at a time, letting it melt before adding in more.
Once the cheese was melted and my soup was nice and smooth, I added in some Worcestershire sauce and placed my bacon and chicken back into the pot.
I let everything simmer together for several minutes, allowing the flavors to marry together and the chicken and bacon to warm back up.
This delicious soup is filled with bold flavor and one of my favorite comfort foods. The gooey cheese marinates perfectly with the yeasty wheat beer. And the bacon just brings everything together for the perfect party in a bowl. My favorite toppings for this soup are crusty crunchy croutons, zesty green onion, and extra bacon. It’s also phenomenal for dipping soft pretzels into or all on it’s own.
- 1 pound bacon, diced
- 1 pound chicken breast (boneless, skinless), diced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if you prefer less spice)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup beer, Belgian-style wheat
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 cups half & half
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- In a large pot or Dutch/French oven, add bacon.
- Cover with 3/4 cup warm water and allow bacon to cook up until crispy. over medium-high heat.
- Remove bacon from pot using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Remove about 3/4 rendered fat from the pan, leaving the remaining 1/4 inside the pot.
- Add diced chicken to the pot and cook through completely.
- Remove chicken to set with bacon.
- Add butter to the pot with remaining bacon fat and allow to melt completely.
- Add in flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, whisking constantly to ensure mixture doesn't clump or burn.
- Allow flour mixture to cook for a full minute.
- Add in beer, whisking constantly to ensure mixture doesn't burn (mixture will thicken measurably).
- Allow beer to cook for about two to three minutes to burn off the alcohol.
- Add in chicken stock and half and half, whisking constantly.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and allow soup to come to a slight boil.
- Add in cheddar, a little at a time, allowing it to melt between each addition.
- Once cheese is completely melted, add Worcestershire and return the chicken and bacon to the pot.
- Allow soup to simmer together for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with toppings like croutons, green onion, bacon pieces, or soft pretzels.
Original recipe slightly adapted from: http://www.theslowroasteditalian.com/2013/09/bacon-beer-cheese-soup-with-chicken-recipe.html