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Carmen Lara | Bryan Texas Utilities

This soup has fantastic flavor and a velvety texture. For best results, make sure you don’t overcook the shrimp in the initial boil, since you’ll reheat it again in the soup before serving.

1/2 pound medium or large Texas Gulf shrimp, unpeeled
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/3 cup unbleached flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
2 cups whole or low-fat milk
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded American cheese
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Ground black pepper
Chives, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add shrimp and boil until pink and cooked through, about 2–3 minutes, then drain. When shrimp is cool enough to handle, shell, devein, rinse under cold water and set aside.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and stir until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, beer and milk. Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently (do not boil) until thickened, about 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile, toss the shredded cheeses and cornstarch together in a large bowl until combined. Purée soup mixture in blender in 2 batches until completely smooth. Return to saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Add cheese mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Add cooked shrimp to the purée and use a ladle to gently combine.

4. Serve warm, with snipped chives on top for garnish.

Serves 6–8.