Are you dreaming of tomatoes yet? I am. Tomatoes and sweet corn and fresh okra … okay, I’ll stop there before you want to kill me. In the southeast we benefit from a long growing season but even so, during the colder months I often find myself dreaming of summer produce and long, warm days.
I am, however, a firm believer in appreciating things in their proper time (or, you know, trying to) and one good thing about January is having an excuse to eat this soup. It’s a bit decadent, I will grant you, but if you can’t have tomatoes, you should definitely treat yourself to a warm bowl of this comforting and flavorful goodness. It’s perfect for a weekend night in with a book or some relaxing company.
Local Beer and Cheese Soup
At this point, if you are using bacon or sausage, add the meat and cook until it is browned, then drain any excess fat from the pan.
Add the mustard, oregano and Worcestershire to the pan along with the potatoes. Stir well, then slowly pour over the stock. Season well with salt and pepper, cover and simmer until the potatoes are starting to become tender but still retain their shape. Stir in the beer and continue to simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and flour or arrowroot until no lumps remain. Slowly pour this mixture into the soup and stir until thoroughly combined.
When the soup is hot and simmering again slowly stir in the cheese, adding in one handful at a time. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve in a deep bowl, suitable for cupping your hands around.