Monday, February 3, 2014

Kirsten's Beer Cheese Soup

Just the thing for a cold wintery day.

I actually made and documented two different recipes yesterday, but decided to split them up because the theme didn't exactly go together. While the apple pudding really hit the spot because it wasn't a typical dessert for a cold wintery day, this recipe definitely is something you want to bring out when you're snowed in and layering up even with the heat on, and considering what we got hit with today, it turned out waiting a day to post this one probably wasn't a bad idea!

I'm also excited to point out that this is the fiftieth recipe I've featured since starting this blog. I have to admit, it's kind of crazy to realize that it's already been fifty recipes and almost six months since I started A Peek Into the Pantry, because it still feels like I just came up with the idea and got everything started just last week. I really appreciate all the feedback and support I've gotten from people in that time, and hope you guys will stick around for another fifty posts over the next several months!

I woke up this morning to discover that after a couple days of decent weather and consistently melting snow, we're once again completely buried under a good couple inches of heavy, sticky snow that doesn't sound like it's going to be going anywhere any time soon. It's making me wish I'd made this soup today instead of doing it tomorrow, because it definitely would be hitting the spot now that we're pretty much snowbound for who knows how long.

As pretty as it is when it snows like this, man I am ready for spring.

I've had this recipe set aside for a long time, and I'm pretty sure I originally found it on Tumblr. It's from How Sweet It Is, and can be found here. I'm not really sure why it took me so long to do it, but we finally decided to pull the trigger on it because it seemed a decent enough meal for a day that's usually filled with melted cheese, lots of beer and tortilla chips.

Now there were two parts of this recipe I was a little concerned about: the beer, and the peppers. I'm really not a fan of alcohol of any variety (not on moral grounds or anything, I just think it tastes nasty) and didn't want this to taste boozy, but since you're giving the alcohol a lot of time to cook off, I was less concerned about the beer than I was about the peppers. I've mentioned before that I don't love cooked peppers, and was a little concerned when I saw how many peppers there were going to be in this recipe.

Still, I went forward with it with cautious enthusiasm. You cook the bacon in the pot first, scoop the cooked bacon out when it's done, and then cook the peppers, onions and garlic together in the drippings until the onions are clear.

Next goes in butter and flour. You mix these together until the flour is a nice golden color, which I promptly forgot to photograph. But it happened, and it happened pretty quickly.

I also apparently forgot to photograph actually pouring the beer in, but it goes in next, cooks for five minutes, and then is joined in the pot by half and half.

Many thanks to my dad for not only running out to get the half and half when it turned out we forget to get it at the store, but also for helping photograph these steps because they kind of required too much attention to stop and take a picture of each step by myself.

Next goes in the best part: the cheese. I didn't stray from the recipe's suggestions of cheese to use because it already featured my favorite cheeses! You really can't go wrong with cheddar and colby jack, in my opinion.

This goes into the soup on a low heat, and they quickly dissolve to give you a nice, cheesy soup.

I was a little disappointed to discover that it didn't actually make that much soup. It's totally my fault for not realizing it - the recipe is perfectly frank about how many servings it makes, but I felt pretty bad when I realized I had all these people over the house who wanted to try it, and they each could just get a little taste.

That said, it's a pretty easy soup to make, so we could have either doubled the recipe, or just whipped up another batch relatively quickly. I was talked out of doing it, but I definitely wouldn't have minded.

So how did it taste? I liked it, but I definitely felt like it could do with more salt, which is crazy when you think about how much cheese is going into this soup. My mom always says the same thing about her macaroni and cheese, because it seems like adding salt on top of a ton of cheese would be completely unnecessary, and then you taste it and realize it's kind of under seasoned. Still, it's an easy enough thing to fix, and the beer and cheese pair really well together, masking the horrible cooked pepper taste I tend not to like.

It's definitely something that's best served immediately - I had to wait a while to eat mine and a thick film formed on the top of it by the time I got to, but unfortunately I can't attest to how well it reheats because it was gone within fifteen minutes. We served it in mugs so people could eat it on the couch, and this went great until...

I managed to spill a lot of it all down the back of my hand, which meant I burned my fingers pretty badly all above the first knuckle.

So, fifty recipes later, and I'm still burning myself. Aloe vera worked a miracle though, and you can barely tell there's anything there today, which is awesome because it looked pretty terrible when it first happened. Still, people are constantly burning and cutting themselves by accident on professional cooking shows, so I was more frustrated because it really hurt and was totally not in a convenient spot for finishing the rest of the pictures I needed to take!

And that's that. I'm sorry there wasn't much historical commentary here beyond that this is definitely something I'd want to be eating if I was a pioneer out in Minnesota (or just in Minnesota in general, since they're still pretty buried in snow), but I promise there are lots of other exciting historical recipes to come.

Until then, stay warm!

Here's to fifty more recipes!


  1. This looks interesting! I'm not sure if it sounds like something I'd love or something I'd hate so I am glad to know that it tasted good. It's such a good feeling when something you've made goes so quickly, I think!

    I've been cooking since I can remember and I still burn myself, LOL. I'm glad you're okay today though; is it still sore?

    1. It really is! Recipes that take forever to make but ten minutes to be totally devoured always kind of frustrate me, I feel like I put in way more effort than the reward you're getting in return. Also, if it does turn out to be something you don't like, at least you didn't waste hours and hours preparing it, so I say give it a shot. c:

      Although I say that about most of the things I cook, so I definitely won't be offended if you don't!

      That's how everyone tried to console me after it happened ahaha, and it actually feels great! There's no redness or anything, which is totally weird because it was swollen and bright red last night before the aloe vera worked its magic. I was really expecting to have a really ugly mark on my hand for a couple days so I'm very pleased I seem to have dodged a bullet.

  2. I'm sorry you burned yourself! It's probably one of the more painful injuries that exist!

    I really, really love the picture of Kirsten you took by the window. I wish I didn't live in such a crowded neighborhood so I could take more pictures outdoors without having to crop it or drive some where else. Maybe if I angled it right, I could take a nice widow picture with dolls.

    I also hate cooked peppers! I love peppers raw when they're sweet and juicy and not soggy and gross tasting though. Despite the peppers though, the soup looks really good and hearty!

    1. It really is! I'm really glad it didn't end up being a bigger problem than it was, it was in a really unfortunate spot ahaha.

      I wish I wasn't so nervous about taking my guys out in the snow! I loved that photoshoot you did with Felicity, but I'm always worried about dragging my guys outside in case something happens to them. B(

      Actually, I was kind of surprised at how thin it was! I was almost expecting something more consistent with a cheese dip, and this was a lot more runny. Still tasty, but just different from what I expected it to be. The peppers really weren't too noticeable and that cooked pepper taste didn't really permeate through the rest of the soup, so fortunately they were pretty easy to avoid. c:

  3. Oh my gosh that looks amazing! I wonder if my husband will sacrifice a beer.....

    Sorry about your hand! Ouch!

    1. It actually takes about a can and a quarter of beer, unfortunately. I was really bummed it wasn't just a full two cans or just one can, I hate leaving extras behind like that!

      That being said, it has a really tasty beer flavor that even someone who doesn't particularly like beer, so it could be a sacrifice worth making. c: