This past week while my mom was visiting from Texas, it suddenly became FALL outside!  The temperature dropped about twenty degrees and the tops of the trees have turned yellow.  We have the windows open and the A/C is officially off.  Soooo…. this is my inaugural fall post.  The first of many, many fall posts.  It is my favorite season and it is especially my favorite eating season.  When the temperature drops, I feel like a bear getting ready to hybernate all winter.  I start eating all the yummy, comforting foods I can get my hands (or paws) on!  Apples, squash, soups, chilis, cinnamon spices, pumpkin, caramel corn, and sweet potatoes…. just to name a few.

The other exciting event that “kicks-off” the fall season is FOOTBALL!  As I write this, my husband is sitting in front of the television, yelling way too loud at the Chicago Bears.  Every once in a while, I go in the living room and scold him but secretly I love to hear him yelling at the refs, the same two phrases over and over again, “COMMON!!!”  “STOMP THAT GUY!”  and “GO GO GO GO GO GOOOONE!!! DA BEARS, DA BEARS, DA BEARS, DA BEARS!!!”  It is the sound of the fall season.  🙂

With all this football action and excitement I decided it’s time to make my husband’s favorite football soup.  Beer, Brat and Cheddar Soup (aka Midwest in a Bowl).  With every bite of this soup, the flavors of beer, sharp cheddar and juicy bratwurst fill your mouth and pretty soon you have eaten three bowls without even thinking.    The trick to getting a really juicy bratwurst is pre-cooking them in a beer bath.  Empty a few bottles of beer into a pot, drop the brats in, and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and let them go for about 6-7 minutes.  Take the pot off the heat and let the brats get nice and happy in that beer.  Believe me, they will get really happy.

Midwest in a Bowl

Beer, Brat and Cheddar Soup

3 bratwurst sausages, cooked and sliced
3 TB. olive oil
1 Cup onion, minced (about 2 medium onions)
1 Cup celery, minced (about 4 large stalks)
1 Cup carrots, sliced (about 3 medium carrots)
1/4 Cup flour
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 12 oz. can of beer
1/2 tsp. regular mustard powder
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper
1/2 Cup of milk
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions: 

Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat.

Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring every so often to keep from sticking.

Stir in flour; cook about 1 minute.

Add potatoes, stock and beer.

Bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add mustard powder, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, and chipotle.

Combine milk and Worcestershire sausce in a small bowl. Stir into the soup.

Remove soup from heat. Add the chesse, stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.

Remove 2 cups of vegetables with some liquid and add to a blender or food processor. Puree. Stir back into the soup to give it nice body.

Return to low heat and add sliced, cooked bratwurst. Cook until bratwurst is warm; 5 minutes should do it.

Serve in bread bowls (most grocery stores have bread bowls in the bakery) or in bowls with crusty french bread.  Enjoy!!  

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