Quinoa Beer Cheese Soup

26 Jan

Disclaimer: By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

If you’ve ever been to Wisconsin, you know what beer cheese soup is. If this is a new concept to you, beer cheese soup combines two of the best food groups into the best winter meal one could hope for. Ok, only in WI are beer and cheese considered food groups.

As part of a challenge, I was tasked to create a recipe that uses Cabot Creamery cheeses, has 2-3 food groups, and is a healthier version of the original. So of course I healthified this soup! Packed with vegetables, chickpeas and quinoa, it’s got all the components of a healthy soup…but with cheese as an added, creamy bonus. As my father would say: everything’s better with cheese.

Quinoa Beer Cheese Soup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This makes a fantastic appetizer soup for a crowd. Serve it up at your next game day party, or just have a bunch of friends over for a warm soup in the cold winter.

Quinoa Beer Cheese Soup, adapted from The Kitchn

Serves 16 as an appetizer or 8 as a main

  • 1 C quinoa
  • 2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 C diced carrot
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 C vegetable stock
  • 2 C water
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 C beer – I used Point Oktoberfest, but any lager or amber would work well
  • 1/2 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 8oz block of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 8oz block of Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
  • 1 C non-dairy or skim milk
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (whole grain is ok)
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

Begin by making the quinoa. Pour uncooked quinoa into a medium-sized pot. Toast on medium-high for about minute, stirring constantly. Pour in the water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Remove from heat completely and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Set aside as you prepare the soup.

While that’s cooking, start making the soup’s base. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute diced onion, pepper and carrot for 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and let it cook for 2 more minutes.

Stir in the stock, water and chickpeas. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the soup pot from heat. With an immersion blender, puree the soup – CAREFULLY! – until smooth. I found it’s best to just hold the blender in the center of the pot and let it work. (Note: use a traditional blender and work in batches if you don’t have an immersion blender.)

Helpful hint: use a food processor to grate all that cheese! Cut the blocks into 8 cubes each and use the “pulse” button until the cheese is broken down. It won’t look pretty, but you’ll be melting it anyway.

Return the soup to the stove and turn the heat to medium. Whisk in the beer and Greek yogurt until incorporated. Continue whisking and add the grated cheeses one handful at a time until it’s all in there. Keep whisking to get it all melted – be careful not to let the soup boil or the cheese will separate.

Whisk in the milk, mustard and Worcestershire. Whisk in the cooked quinoa. Taste it and add salt and/or pepper if needed.

Serve hot, garnished with parsley and/or scallions. Leftovers? Let cool completely and store in airtight containers in the fridge, up to one week.

Quinoa Beer Cheese Soup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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7 Responses to “Quinoa Beer Cheese Soup”

  1. Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil) January 26, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    Such a clever twist on beer cheese soup – I’d try it with farro or whole wheat couscous.

  2. Melinda Massie January 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    You had me at beer and cheese. They’re considered their own food groups in Texas too.

  3. Cindy Kerschner January 27, 2015 at 5:52 am #

    I’m ready for a big bowl!

  4. Regan @ Cabot Creamery January 30, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    I’m with Deanna. So clever! Everyone expects Beer & Cheese on gameday, but adding quinoa is genius 🙂

    • xtinaluvspink January 30, 2015 at 8:25 am #

      Thanks! And all the hidden veggies make this soup more filling than expected!

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