The night before the Brain and I left on our honeymoon, a week after the wedding so we could relax and sleep and get all those thank you notes out, his parents took us to a restaurant by the Cleveland airport for dinner. There we were, grateful the wedding was over, ready to start our lives together, fairly exhausted from the wedding planning and execution, excited to go on our honeymoon, and ready for some quiet time. The weather was beautiful and sunny, a dramatic change from the snow on our wedding night (in APRIL). Yes, winter never ends here. Anyway, poised on the beginning of adventure, there we were at this really good restaurant, and I had the beer soup.
I'd never had beer soup before. I think on some level I mourned the 35 years of my life that went by without me having tasted it. Kind of like how I feel about sauerkraut balls and fennel and other such delicious things I grew up not knowing about. It was delicious and cheesy and tasted definitely of beer. And up until now I've simply lived with the memory. The Brain doesn't do so well with dairy.
But then a couple weeks ago, my sister in law handed me a cookbook with this recipe marked. It is the Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread cookbook. The recipe was the Tomato and Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer. She had thought it looked like a good recipe, but her terrific kids happen to be mighty picky eaters and the cookbook just had more elegant tastes than the kids would eat. I happily took the cookbook off her hands and decided that I would make the soup (or my version of it) and eat it for lunches while the Brain was off with the older men on Thursday afternoons, and during Rotary and times like that.
Well now, the Brain looks at my soup and I keep telling him, "no no no, you can't have this soup". It's mean of me. I know. But this soup is REALLY good. And it would make his tummy REALLY hurt. And I did, after all, make him Manwiches *shudder* for lunch today, so it's not like I don't cook what he likes to eat. In fact we've had so much pizza and Chinese and spaghetti and more pizza this week, that I really have to apologize that I didn't try anyone else's recipes this week. I barely made enough to blog about. Sorry, it's been a lazy lazy week.
Tomato Potato Beer Cheddar Soup
adapted from the Daisy Hollow Soup & Bread Cookbook
1 bottle Ale
6 large potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion chopped
1 rib celery chopped
1 carrot peeled and sliced
5 cloves of garlic crushed in a garlic press
1 15oz can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
12 oz. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish
1. Pour the beer into a heavy dutch oven. Add the potatoes and stock. If the potatoes aren't covered add enough water to cover them. Add the basil, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, melt the butter and saute the onions until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, garlic and carrot and saute about 5 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire, and soy sauce, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 20 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the cream and stir while cooking until the mixture thickens. Add the dry mustard and Tabasco. Transfer the entire mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
3. Stir the cream mixture into the dutch oven.Turn down the heat so that the liquid barely simmers. Add the cheese and cook, stirring frequently until the cheese melted and the potatoes are falling apart, about 20 minutes more. Once the potatoes are falling apart, blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for about an hour to let the flavors develop and then bring back up to temperature and serve garnished with parsley.