Let me tell you something about me: I love soup. I eat soup almost every night in the Winter. I especially love beer cheese soup and broccoli cheddar. The last time I was making broccoli cheddar soup, I was drinking a smoked lager and thought, "Why the fuck not?" I poured it in, and out came this genius creation.
Broccoli Cheddar Beer Soup
4 cups of broccoli / 2 medium-large heads of broccoli
1 onion, diced
2/3/4 minced garlic cloves, depending on your personal feelings about garlic
1 cup carrots, grated or diced
1 1/2 cup potatoes (optional, but worth it)
1 can cream of chicken*
1 bottle of beer, preferably a smoked lager but really any amber-colored and medium-bodied beer will work**
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Spices, whatever you'd like. I'd recommend paprika, sage, thyme, basil, or whatever you have in your pantry, to be honest.
8 oz sharp cheddar***
1. Bring the water to boil, add the broccoli and cook until it's tender. Drain the broccoli and set it aside to cool.
2. Toss the onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes into a stock pot and saute until the onions are translucent.
3. Add the cream of chicken and the entire bottle of beer. Add whatever spices you'd like, including salt and pepper. I added paprika and basil this time for kicks but sometimes I toss in sage or thyme, depending what I have on hand. It is going to look like the least appetizing thing ever at this point but hold your horses, it's getting there.
4. Turn heat down to low and simmer for at least a half hour and up to an hour. Stir it occassionally.
5. Chop up the broccoli into small pieces, then toss into the soup. If your soup looks way too thick, add in up to a cup of water. Simmer it for 10-20 more minutes.
6. Grate the cheese and add it slowly to the soup, making sure it doesn't touch the sides or bottom. If the cheese burns, your soup will be so gross. Don't let that happen. Here's the trick: Just leave it on top of the soup until it gets super melty, then stir it in right before you are ready to serve.
7. Serve with a dash of extra cheese on top. Tah dah!
* Vegetarian soup: substitute Cream of Chicken for Cream of any vegetable, especially asparagus and mushroom
** I used Z Lager from Fort Collins Brewery and it has this smoked bacon aftertaste and yummmmmmm.
*** Tillamook is my favorite. My mom uses Velveeta and it melts really well and has a smooth taste but I don't know what Velveeta is exactly, so I try not to use it.