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Beer-Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzel Dippers

Beer-Cheese Soup with Soft Pretzel Dippers


  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the Soft Pretzels:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter, melted

For the Soup:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-oz) lager or pilsner beer
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

For the Soft Pretzels:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit in the bowl for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. Add in the flour and salt and knead the mixture together using the dough hook attachment. Knead until a soft and smooth dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in the bowl to rest, covered with a towel, for about 45 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, combine the boiling water and baking soda in a large baking dish, whisking so the baking soda dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool to almost room temperature.
  5. Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for a couple minutes and then divide it into four equal pieces.
  7. Roll each piece of dough out into a 12-inch rope. Cut each rope into quarters, yielding four 3-inch pretzels (you an also cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces if that’s preferred).
  8. Once all the pretzels have been cut, gently place them in the baking dish filled with the water and baking soda solution. Turn them to evenly coat and then let them rest in the solution for about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the pretzels from the water solution and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt and then bake for 14-16 minutes or until they are puffed slightly and golden brown.
  10. Remove the pretzels from the oven and brush them with the melted butter. Sprinkle with more coarse salt and serve warm alongside the soup (you can keep them warm in a 200°F oven until the soup is ready).

For the Soup:

  1. Heat a large saucepot over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until it is rendered and crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Drain off the bacon drippings until you have roughly 2 tablespoons left (this will depend on your bacon). Add the butter to the drippings and once its melted, add the onion and celery.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes and then add in the jalapeno and garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the flour and toss to coat all the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes or until the flour is golden brown.
  5. Slowly stream in the beer, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook for a few minutes or until the beer is reduced by half.
  6. Add in the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the soup is thickened.
  7. Add in the heavy cream and grated cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, until the soup is thick, creamy, and all the cheese has melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  8. Keep covered and hot until you are ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

NOTE:

  1. To reheat the soup, warm over low heat gradually and add more stock to thin, as needed.