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Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup with Herbed Croutons

This rich and creamy Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup gets the seasonal treatment, and the homemade herbed croutons add a happy crunch to this satisfyingly easy meal!

Yields 6 bowls     adjust servings

Preparation 30m Cook Time 25m Total Time

Ingredients

Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 oz. (1 bottle) beer (we used Sam Adams Octoberfest)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for serving

Herbed Croutons

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, cubed (about 6 cups)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup:

Heat oil & butter in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. When melted and shimmering, cook shallots & garlic for 2-3 minutes, until browned. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle flour over and stir, cooking for 2 minutes.

Whisk in milk, broth, and beer in a stream. Add bay leaf. Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Stir in pumpkin puree, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes, then carefully remove and discard the bay leaf.

For smoother soup: remove saucepan from heat. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender,) puree contents of the pot until desired consistency is reached. Return to low heat.

Add cheese about 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Portion into bowls and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar. Serve with croutons and fresh thyme.

Herbed Croutons:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, simmer the oil, sliced garlic, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper for 5 minutes. Discard the garlic. 

In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the oil mixture, coating as evenly as possible. Spread the cubes on the baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the croutons with the grated Parmesan, then bake for 8-9 more minutes, until golden brown. Sprinkle the croutons with more salt if desired, then serve on top of the soup. 

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Recipe Notes

Soup recipe heavily adapted from Epicurious.

Crouton recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious.

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