It was a snowy day Saturday so I decided to make a quick meatloaf for dinner and to enjoy as leftovers for sandwiches during the week (one of our favorites, on onion rolls - yum!)
But it also felt very much like a "soup-cooking-on-the-stove" kind of day, so I cozied up to my cookbook corner and spent a little time with a few of my soup cookbooks to see what enticed me.
What spoke to me was Cheddar Beer Soup. I almost ordered it from a restaurant menu recently and have been thinking about it ever since. Something about the creamy-ish texture and the combination of flavors appeals to me.
Here's the recipe - adapted from the one on the Epicurious website after reading a lot of the reviews and checking what I had in my frig and pantry to work with. I had just purchased a block of good Irish cheddar at Trader Joe's and knew that would be a great addition.
Cheddar Beer Soup
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts ), cut into slices ( about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
2 celery ribs, also sliced(1 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 California bay leaf
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (14 fl. oz.)
1 (12-oz) bottle ale (I had Harpoon IPA)
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. extra-sharp Cheddar (the Irish cheddar was wonderful!), grated (4 cups)
1. Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander.
2. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
3. Using a hand-held stick blender, process the vegetables till the texture is a thick paste with small chunks in it. (or to the consistency you desire - I wanted a little chunkiness from the veggies.)
4. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3-5 minutes.
5. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper.
|mise en place!|
6. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil). Discard bay leaf.
7. The finished product - slightly chunky, full of flavor, a nice piquancy because of the beer, I imagine. A very satisfying soup - and the colors are pretty too!
I'm happy to have a bay leaf plant to pull fresh leaves from whenever I wish - an older plant of mine, who loves a sunny window spot in the wintertime, but prefers the garden (natch!) when the weather allows.
|Pretty, Glossy Leaves - full of flavor|