beer soup for chilled bones
it feels like a very, very long time ago when i last posted, lamenting but also celebrating the finale of a really rad summer. when i wrote that (eep! over 2 months ago - sorry for the extended radio silence) autumn was just edging up against us, but now we're just full on in it: the late november cold rains and windy days. a mild day here and there helps to keep the spirits up, but soon we will have to accept the dawn of winter, which creeps a little closer with each day.
the only real respite from the hunched-shoulder, soggy boot trudge is a cheery yellow kitchen, with warm counter tops and sharp knives. dairy, dark beer, and vintage bowie are small but important accessories of comfort to usher in the premature evening without complaint. one recent particularly harsh weeknight, i decided to go all out and make a decadent recipe i'd been eying for awhile. this goldenrod soup - haughtier than pub grub but maintaining some working class charm - is a pretty quick dinner and you might already have all the ingredients nestled in your fridge. to our true vegan readers: i'm sorry, my more disciplined brethren, but this recipe is not for you.
a gently sauteed mirepoix creates a base for the vegetable broth, milk (heavy cream if you want to get real cray), and a medium bodied english beer. a literal heap of sharp cheddar cheese melts into something spectacular. the first bite of the finished product, silky and rich, is like a hug from the universe. hyperbole? make it yourself one night, as sharp rain pelts your window panes, and see if you don't agree.
Brawler Bisque extremely loosely adapted from a Gourmet recipe
~ takes about 40 minutes
1/4 stick of unsalted butter
1 medium white or yellow onion
2 stalks of celery
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup flour (all purpose, or any other kind to make it GF)
2 cups milk
2 cups vegetable stock (homemade is best)
1 12 oz bottle of english style ale (go local)
1 teaspoon mustard
4-8 ounces of shredded cheddar, totally depending on how cheese-ified you want the soup to be, plus the odds and ends of any forgotten cheeses in the drawer, also shredded
salt & pepper
- melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. dice up the onion, carrot, and celery and cook them in butter until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- add the bay leaf, garlic, salt and pepper. stir everything around in the butter for another minute or two. add the flour to the veg mix and try to coat everything in it. let it cook a bit more until the flour gets a bit golden. this is like making a little roux-on-the-fly.
- add the milk, veg stock, mustard and beer. simmer the pot, whisking from time to time. let the whole thing cook gently until the vegetables are softened and cooked all the way through. if you're using some carrots that have seen better days (like i did), they can be tough and might take a few extra minutes.
- turn off the heat and fish out the bay leaf. whizz up the beer-y soup with an immersion blender. if you need to use a regular blender, carefully transfer the soup in small batches, and may god have mercy on your soul.
- once the vegetables are well pulverized, turn the burner back on to a low flame. stirring all the while, add the shredded cheese one handful at a time. when all the cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper to taste.
pour yourself a glass of malty, strong beer to accompany your beer soup. i went with great lakes' edmund fitzgerald porter, a fine brew that fortifies the soul. the label on the bottle features a great ship battling a raging storm, not unlike us east coast kids battening down the hatches for the long winter ahead. i think if we can cook our way through it, we'll be just fine.