Drink your heart out Wisconsin! We Minnesota “nice” Viking fans really like your cheeseheads; in fact we use them to make soup. Kind of.
Football is king in the upper Midwest and no game is worth watching without tailgating with family and friends. A regional soup can be the centerpiece if it is rich and hearty. Served with popcorn, this mellow soup is both. Little kids enjoy it while throwing popcorn up in the air for the dog. The little kids in our house are me and Mr. D, the proud parents of two sweet golden retrievers and one entertaining calico.
I do not have an aversion to using processed cheese in this recipe as it is possible to make a homemade Cheez Whiz version without chemicals. We also like white Wisconsin cheddar in every way, so some cheddar may be added (for legitimacy if food snobs are mortified). James Villas, the famed Town and Country food and wine editor, writes captivating anecdotes about his southern culinary heritage inherited from his mother, Martha Pearl Villas, in My Mother’s Southern Kitchen. Martha had her own quirkiness about how regional specialties should be prepared and they usually didn’t include processed food. Although Villas father disliked broccoli, he enjoyed a broccoli casserole one evening while dining with friends. His mother made the recipe with (gasp) cream of mushroom soup and it was delicious. Thus, Villas said … no apologies.
David, my forbearing in-residence photographer, took product pictures while trying to keep the popcorn from blowing away. Since the beer should be added after it has released some fizz and I use only 9 oz. so he had to help me here. Because it was in the blazing nineties, he did. He also worked up an appetite taking lots of pictures and chasing popcorn.
Minnesota Beer Cheese Soup
Serves 8 (or 4 Vikings)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup each: finely minced chives or scallions, celery, red or green bell pepper, and grated carrots. I also use a small onion or shallots.
3/4 cup flour
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
16 ounces processed cheese (like Cheez Whiz)
1 3/4 cup heavy cream, or half and half
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
A few drops of Sriracha or Tabasco sauce
12 ounces somewhat flat beer
Melt butter and sauté finely minced vegetables until soft. Add flour and cook the roux over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cream and whisk until smooth and thickened. Add cheese and any other bits of cheddar desired.
Mix in Worcestershire, optional hot sauce, and flat beer.
Simmer until ready to serve and thin, if necessary with additional cream or broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Yellow food coloring may be added. Serve with lots of freshly popped corn.
And no apologies.
My oldest nephew, Micheal Schroeder, came up with using the jalapeno salsa version of the cheese product. What a winning combination!
Homemade Cheez Whiz
1 lb American or Velveeta cut into small pieces
1 13 ounce can of evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
Canned jalapenos and pimiento may be added
Melt all of the ingredients in a double boiler or heavy saucepan.
Stir constantly to combine.
Do not boil. Pour into clean jars.
Makes 4 almost full pint jars. The jars can be processed for 10 minutes or stored in the refrigerator.