Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup

Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup

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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 1/2 tablespoons thyme
1 (12 ounce) bottle pumpkin ale
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Pour oil into a medium pot and place over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions become translucent. Add garlic, carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes and stir in 2 tablespoons thyme. Add beer and broth and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetable mixture is fork tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
          In another medium pot melt butter. Whisk in flour to create a roux and continue to whisk for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream until no lumps remaining and mixture thickens. Stir in pumpkin puree until smooth. Toss cheese together with lemon juice before stirring into the milk mixture. Stir until cheese sauce is smooth.  Stir in remaining spices.
          Pour cheese mixture and broth mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture back into a pot and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until soup thickens slightly. Stir in remaining thyme and adjust seasonings. Serve

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