Cheddar Broccoli Soup with Bacon and Egg Croutons made with Bavarian Wheat Beer
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups Bavarian style beer (recommended: Hefeweizen)
- 1 bunch broccoli (about 6 large stalks), broken into florets, plus stalks trimmed, peeled and into disks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) whipped cream cheese
- 1/4 cup whipped ef="http://www.foodterms.com/encyclopedia/cream-cheese/index.html" class="crosslink" debug="469 481">cream cheese softened
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled while warm and diced
- 3 strips bacon, fried, drained and crumbled (recommended: Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon)
- 8 slices wheat bread
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar
In a large stockpot, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and saute until it turns translucent. Add beer and let cook until most of the alcohol evaporates. Stir in broccoli florets and disks, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until broccoli is very soft.
While the soup is cooking, make the topping for the croutons. Gently fold cream cheese, eggs, and bacon bits together, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Stir heavy cream into the soup, remove from heat, and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in shredded Cheddar and whipped cream cheese, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Use the immersion blender to thoroughly mix, and adjust salt and pepper, to taste, if necessary. Cover and keep warm.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toast what bread and cut into triangles. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on each toast triangle and top with some of the egg/bacon mixture. Sprinkle some more Cheddar on top, place on a baking sheet and put in the oven for a few minutes to let the cheese melt.
Serve soup in crocks with a crouton floating on the surface of the soup.