I love soup. Such a simple concept, but infinite combinations result in a plethora of flavors and aromas that could last me until the end of time.
A few weeks back, I found the recipe for this soup. Finding the beer was not a problem (for some odd reason, I know where all the liquor stores are in my neighborhood), but locating the cheese was more difficult. I needed 2 cups of Gruyere, cubed. A whirlwind circuit of the usual grocery stores only yielded a few thin slices of Gruyere for what would have turned out to be an insanely expensive soup, had I gone that route.
Fortunately, I was able to locate a specialty cheese soup, and procured a block of Gruyere. A little slicing, dicing, and simmering later, and I had my soup. I distributed some samples to my usual circle of guinea pigs (my co-workers), and waited for the feedback.
Alas, the soup turned out to have an unpleasantly high salt content. As in, it was a bald faced lie to call it cheese, beer and sausage soup – my supervisor and bestest friend in the whole world re-christened it “salt soup”. In addition, the cheese didn’t melt as evenly as I would have liked, resulting in some depressingly un-aesthetic lumps of cheese.
So, back to the drawing board I went. Well, the cutting board, anyways. Decreased the salt, diced the cheese a little more finely, and voila! A soup I wasn’t ashamed to share with the test audience.
So, without further ado………….
1 or 2 kielbasa sausage rounds, diced or sliced into rounds
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp minced garlic
6 tbsp flour
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups lager beer
4 sprigs thyme
2 cups cubed Gruyere cheese
Saute the kielbasa until golden brown in a large, hot soup pot, about 4 minutes. The sausage will not be cooked through, It will finish cooking in the soup. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until the onions are slightly caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the stock and beer. Add the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the kielbasa and cook until sausages are cooked through. Add the cheese 1/3 cup at a time, stirring until nearly all melted and smooth after each addition. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.