As I plan my menus for the month I try to take into consideration what we have going each day and what ingredients I will have leftover to make into other dishes. Or I also look at when I have extra time the day before to do prep for the next day’s meals when possible. I knew my partner could cook the brats and cut them up for me the night before. I shredded the cheese and carrots earlier in the day so my 20-30 minute meal was a perfect solution to a busy day.
Now imagine this chowder with a nice chunk of garlic focacia for dipping. It was divine.
The chunks of bratwurst added great flavor and texture to the creaminess of the chowder. I could imagine eating a beer soaked brat covered in cheddar cheese. The hint of beer added enough flavor but wasn’t too overpowering. My daughter who cannot stand the smell of alcohol in any form even said the beer was better in the dish than it smelled in the bottle.
I served this dish with a slice of focaccia for dipping. If you wish a nice green salad would be a great compliment to the meal.
Bratwurst and Beer Cheese Chowder
- 19 oz. bratwurst, fully cooked and sliced into half moons
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 oz. baby carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (plus more for thinning if needed)
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2 cups half and half (I used fat-free and it was fine)
- 16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 16 oz bottle of beer, an amber or darker ale work really well
- black pepper, to taste
- green onions for topping if desired
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally while cooking for 10-15 minutes. You want the onions to cook slowly to begin caramelizing. This will give you the best flavor. If the onions start to cook too quickly turn the heat down.
- In a bowl whisk flour and chicken stock until smooth. Stir into the onion mixture. Slowly pour in the half and half while continuously whisking. Season with black pepper. Allow the mixture to cook and thicken for about 5 minutes. Stir scraping the bottom of the pan to avoid burning.
- Slowly stir cheese into mixture. Reduce heat to low if needed. You want the cheese to melt but you do not want it to come to a boil.
- Stir in bratwurst and beer. Cook until brats are fully heated through. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. Add ground black pepper and salt to taste.
- Remove from heat and serve with green onion garnish, if desired.