I’m not actually much of a sports fan. Oh sure, I watch football every Sunday, but only because Jeff does. And I have a Patriots sweatshirt, but Jeff bought it for me and I wear it because it’s warm. Even so, I love football. Not for the game itself, but for the food. I’m realizing just now that I’m devoting more energy to this year’s Super Bowl menu that I did to Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. That should probably tell you something about my palate.
I’d been thinking for months about what I’d cook if the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl. White clam pizza, baked beans, Parker House rolls, Boston Cream Pie… but now none of those dishes seem quite right. However, beer cheese soup, complete with elbow noodles and a generous sprinkle of scallions, is just the thing. I love Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup, and I love macaroni and cheese, why not combine the two?
Hearty and rich, this soup feeds a crowd, and will keep well in a crock pot on a buffet table. It’s creamy and cheesy but the hoppy beer cuts through the richness, as does the hint of spice from the jalapeno. There’s plenty of flavor from the Worcestershire sauce and mustard, but I’m a mustard addict so next time I might add an extra teaspoon of it. And if you like more spice, you could certainly add more jalapeno. Be sure to use a beer you like to drink, because the flavor really comes through. I went for an IPA we happened to have in the fridge, and it was lovely.
And for you Steelers fans, not to worry, I’m working on a Pittsburgh-inspired recipe too!
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
3 loves garlic, diced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
4 tablespoons flour
11/2 cups vegetable broth
1 (12 ounce) bottle beer
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 chopped scallions, for garnish
Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a dutch oven. Saute the onion 1 minute. Add the carrot, garlic and jalapeno and saute over medium-low heat until the vegetables are slightly brown and very soft. Stir in the mustard powder. Add the flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute. Slowly wisk in half of the broth to form a smooth paste. In a slow stream, wisk in the remaining broth and the beer. Once well incorporated, add in the cheese and stir continuously until melted. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and then stir in the macaroni. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with a sprinkle of chopped scallions.