Wisconsin Cheddar Broccoli Soup

What makes this Wisconsin Cheddar Broccoli Soup? Is it because the sharp cheddar cheese came from Wisconsin? Is it because it was invented in the Badger State?

Nope. It’s because you make it with beer.

I love cooking with beer almost as much as I love cooking with wine, which is quite a lot. Oddly, I don’t drink a lot of beer, but I just love the chewy, yeasty flavor it always gives to food.

Wisconsin, of course, is Our Nation’s Capitol of beer. Milwaukee is world headquarters of the Miller Brewing Company, one of the biggest breweries in the world, and that city also has a long and proud beer drinking tradition, making it one of my favorite cities. You will find me there almost every August for Milwaukee’s excellent Irish Fest at the city’s beautiful lakefront festival park.

You will never hear me say an unkind thing about Milwaukee, other than perhaps most of its residents are Green Bay Packers fans.

Besides the fact that it is made with beer, this soup is also wonderful in the winter time because it is the very definition of hearty. This is as thick as soup gets before passing over into the casserole category. It is thickened with both a roux and from the melted cheese.

It. Will. Fill. You. Up.

Wisconsin Cheddar Broccoli Soup

4 slices bacon, medium dice

1 onion, medium dice

12 oz beer

3 cups skim milk

1 cup chicken stock

2 TBS whole butter

3 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour

8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 TBS dry mustard

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 baked potatoes, rough chop

2 broccoli crowns

Sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

Dash Tabasco sauce

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1. Put pot on fire. When hot, add bacon and cook until just starting to crisp, about three minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent, about five minutes. Add beer and cook until nearly all the liquid is evaporated. Then add milk and chicken stock and cover and let come to a boil.

2. In a separate small pot, build a roux by melting butter then whisking flour into the butter. Let cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture turns a light tan. Remove from heat.

3. When milk/chicken stock comes to a boil, whisk in roux and continue cooking until soup begins to thicken, about five minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and stir in grated cheese. When cheese is melted, add the potato and brocolli and cook another 3 minutes. Broccoli will continue to soften at sits in the hot soup.

I served this with a homemade multi-grain bread and it certainly warmed up our late winter’s night.

Do you have any recipes that you associate with a particular place? Share your story in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!

8 thoughts on “Wisconsin Cheddar Broccoli Soup

    • Left out the bacon, used boiled potatoes instead of baked.
      Came out nice and thick, but I think next time (we enjoyed it enough to add it to the book), we’ll use an immersion blender on half of it and throw in some cream for the smoothness.

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