This article was written by Erin Walsh.
For those of you
who read this column with any frequency, you might have guessed by now that I’m
a bit of a cheese lover.
No, that’s an understatement - a fiend more aptly describes my relationship with fromage.
So, this weekend, armed with a gift certificate that I acquired for my birthday, I made the pilgrimage to the holy grail of dairy - Murray’s Cheese in the West Village.
Although I’ve come to see the beauty in other cheese shops in the city - Beecher’s Cheese in the Flatiron District and Bedford Cheese Shop in Williamsburg are more recent discoveries - Murray’s holds a special place near and dear to my heart.
I first discovered Murray’s as a graduate student at NYU and have since flocked there many times to sample and purchase cheeses of the more exotic variety. In recent years, Murray’s has expanded to include wine and cheese education courses and has also opened an outpost two doors down on Bleecker Street, Murray’s Cheese Bar, which offers cheese plates, brunch, lunch and dinner. I’ve yet to try the latter, but I plan to soon.
Being in a cheesy state of mind, and in honor of Oktoberfest, I decided to make Beer and Cheese Sharp Cheddar Cheese Soup with Baguette Toasts for this week’s recipe.
This hearty and delicious soup doesn’t disappoint on a cool day and one bowl goes a long way. My advice is to use a lager beer and plenty of Worchester sauce to give the soup plenty of bite. To make the baguette toasts, simply slice baguette into ½ pieces, drizzle with olive oil and paprika and broil for 10 minutes or so. Enjoy.
Beer and Sharp Cheddar Soup (Source: Southern Living Big Book of Slow Cooking)
1 ½ cups chopped celery, onion and bell pepper mix
2 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 12 oz. can beer
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worchester sauce (optional, but highly recommended)
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery mix, carrots, garlic. Sauté five to six minutes or just until tender. Whisk in flour until smooth.
2. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and broth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, three to four minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
3. Transfer to a slow cooker. Stir in cheese and beer. Cover and cook on low 2 ½ hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add Worchester sauce, if desired. Serve with baguette toasts.