Saturday, November 13, 2010

And inside the tureen...

Terry’s Beer Cheese Soup   
original recipe from the Coburg Inn, Eugene, Oregon, now gone

•     ¾ C butter (1 cube or less)
•     ½ C finely diced celery (I usually double this)
•     ½ C flour
•     2½ pints chicken stock (I like the Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock as well)
•     2 T parmesan cheese
•     6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (recipe calls for processed, I use mild natural cheddar)
•     ½ C finely diced onions
(I usually double this)
•     ½ tsp. dry mustard
•     1 11oz. bottle of beer
•     salt and pepper to taste

Saute vegetables in butter until clear, but not browned. Blend in flour, dry mustard and chicken stock; cook 5 minutes. Blend in cheeses and beer. Let simmer 10 minutes, season and serve with French bread and salad.


I had several requests for the recipe, so here it is. I got the recipe nearly 40 years ago when I was practice teaching in Boise. I had never heard of the Coburg Inn. Then we moved to Oregon and discovered the historic Coburg Inn near Eugene. We used to have lunch there when we went to Eugene. It was wonderful, but it is no longer open, but I continue to make their soup.

I have made this with many kinds of beer. The flavor changes a bit depending on the beer. Thursday's version was made with a bottle of Fat Tire Ale. Also, the recipe calls for an 11 ounce bottle of beer. Around here beer comes in 12 oz bottles, so I generally just use the whole bottle and increase all the other ingredients just a little bit. You can, of course, make the recipe as written and drink the extra ounce of beer! I put the beer in and let it simmer the 10 minutes or so to cook out the alcohol, but I add the cheese at the end and serve as soon as the cheese is melted. I find that if it cooks very long after the cheese is added the cheese separates and gets stringy. That's probably why the original recipe calls for processed cheese, but—yuck!  I don't like processed cheese. I added no salt to the soup. Respecting the preferences of our three vegetarian members, I used Better than Bouillon vegetable stock, which seems pretty salty already. I have to say it is delicious, however—so much better than canned vegetable stock, which I think tastes awful.

I also have to tell you that I had soup left over from our lunch on Thursday, so I reheated it for Ray's and my dinner last night. Reheating does weird things to the cheese. It clumped up into chewy wads of cheese in the soup. Not terrible and definitely still edible, but not the texture you really want. So my advice is make it and eat it all!


  1. I have this very same recipe from the Coburg Inn typed (yes, TYPED) on a yellowing piece of paper... Ahhhh, the memories. I was 12 years old the first time I had this soup, and felt so grown up because I was on a date with my dad and I was having BEER. I think I know what's for dinner some day this week!

  2. Yum. We'll have to try it. Thanks

  3. The "trick" with any soup that includes cheese is to never bring the soup up past a simmer. I make a vegetable chowder with light cream and cheese and if I overheat it, it becomes grainy. Using heavy cream seems to help as that can be heated to a higher temp. And I wait till right before we eat to add the cheese.

    Thank you for the recipe. In Chicago, Marshall Field's had a cheesey vegetable chowder on their menu that was famous. I should look see if it's on the internet.

  4. thelmasmith2:16 PM

    another trick is to use wheat flour to encourage all the other ingredients to work happily together. Use a tablespoon flour per cup of liquid; mix it with about half a cup of water in a lidded jar and shake until all the lumps are gone. Pour it into the simmering soup and stir until it is completely clear (no white remaining.) Flour takes a while to fully hydrate so take your time. This will make the soup reheatable and the texture will be much more what you are hoping for. thelmasmith, who is artfully cooking these days.

  5. The soup does have flour in it, and I reheated it very gently. What can I say? The cheese clumps when it is reheated.

  6. Heather Pool2:43 PM

    Such a beautiful tureen! Do you know the maker? Is it pewter or stainless? It looks Scandinavian.