When the forecast calls for chilly weather, we can’t help but crave something warm and comforting, and soup is one of our favorite meals on cold winter days. It’s a timeless comfort food with endless options and varieties of flavors to last us until spring. Soups can be creamy and rich, tomato-based, extra-cheesy or broth-based; the list goes on. And, as a bonus, making a big batch for long-lasting leftovers requires minimal extra effort.
Here are just three of our favorites. View our entire collection of soups at EatWisconsinCheese.com.
This Beer Cheese Soup by Nick of Dude Foods pairs a Wisconsin original cheese, colby, with cheddar, bacon and beer to make the ultimate winter soup. Keep warm in a crock-pot for an easy self-serve option while entertaining, and have extra grated cheese on hand as an additional topping.
Beer Cheese Soup
By Dude Foods
4 ounces (4-6 slices) bacon
6 pretzel rolls, optional
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin colby cheese, shredded
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) beer
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Fry bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels and dice. Set aside.
If using pretzel rolls, hollow with knife or serrated spoon to form “bowls.” Set aside.
Combine cheeses, milk, beer, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cheese melts. In small bowl, mix flour and water until smooth; add to cheese mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until soup has thickened.
Spoon into prepared pretzel rolls or soup bowls. Sprinkle with chives and diced bacon pieces.
Our Pueblo Pepper Jack Corn and Crab Chowder is filled with hearty goodness too tasty to resist! Using a Dutch oven, the flavors of onion, bell peppers, smoked chipotle peppers, red potatoes, sweet corn, crabmeat and Wisconsin pepper jack combine to create a mouthwatering chowder. Topped with fresh cilantro, you’ll savor every bite.
By Wisconsin cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 14-ounce can low-fat chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon canned smoked chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely minced
1 1/2 cups small red potatoes, unpeeled and diced
2 cups fresh sweet-corn kernels, cut from cob (or 2 cups frozen corn kernels)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Wisconsin pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 cups crabmeat or imitation crabmeat pieces, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, freshly chopped, plus additional leaves for garnish
In Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 to 5 minutes until softened and golden. Stir in red bell pepper, broth, water, cumin and minced chipotle chiles. Bring mixture to boil, stir in potatoes. Adjust heat to maintain gentle boil; cover and cook 5 minutes.
Stir in corn kernels and cover, simmering 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir together half-and-half and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly stir half-and-half mixture into soup. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in pepper jack, stirring until smooth and thickened.
Stir in crabmeat pieces and cilantro and heat through for several minutes. Garnish individual servings with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
If you’d like to take soup’s warming aspect a step further, add some spice with chef Ben Berryhill’s Roasted Tomato and Chile Soup. Spicy jalapeño chiles increase the heat, roasted tomatoes provide depth, and a final addition of lime juice and maple syrup brings complexity to the broth. Top with Alpine Cheese Croutons for a savory garnish.
By Chef Ben Berryhill
For Soup Base:
1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
3 jalapeño chiles, preferably red, stemmed and seeded
1/2 large yellow onion
1 carrot, trimmed and peeled
3 garlic cloves, peeled
10 ripe tomatoes, stemmed and halved OR 12 to 14 whole canned roasted tomatoes (2 28-ounce cans plus one 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, stemmed, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart (4 cups) homemade or prepared chicken broth
Juice of 1/2 lime
Sea salt to taste
1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
For Alpine Cheese Croutons:
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, toasted*
18 1-inch by 1-inch bread cubes, cut from a 9-inch-round country-style loaf (NOT sourdough)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces (1/4 cup) melted butter
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) Wisconsin Swiss or alpine-style cheese, grated, divided
*To toast oregano: Heat a small, heavy skillet until hot. Add oregano and stir constantly with wooden spoon until aromatic, just several seconds. Be careful not to burn.
For Soup Base:
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Roughly chop red bell peppers, jalapeños, onions, carrots and garlic. Combine with fresh tomatoes and 1/2 cup cilantro leaves. If using canned tomatoes, set tomatoes aside for later.
Coat vegetable mixture with olive oil and roast in jelly roll baking pan until caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes. Cool. Remove tomato skins.
If using canned tomatoes, drain well, halve and mix with vegetables.
Purée vegetables in batches in food processor, leaving some texture. In saucepan, combine purée and chicken broth. Heat to a boil and lower heat; simmer for 30 minutes.
Season with lime juice, salt and maple syrup.
For Alpine Cheese Croutons:
Preheat oven to 250ºF.
Finely mince garlic and toasted oregano.
Combine bread cubes, garlic and oregano with olive oil and melted butter. Toss until evenly coated.
Slowly toast in oven until crusty and crunchy, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from oven, briefly cool and toss warm croutons with 1 cup alpine-style cheese, pressing cheese into crouton sides. Cool.
Serve hot soup with croutons in each of 6 large bowls. Sprinkle reserved cilantro and cheese on top.