Soup Sunday

Monday, November 08, 2010

Winter looms in Michigan. Most of the trees have lost their leaves, either due to early freezes or from the few mild hurricanes that have swept through the mitten state. Frost covers the grass every morning. My kids bitch about how cold it is, yet still refuse to put on slightly warmer jackets.

Mrs. Smitty and I decided, then, that the way to warm our hearts on these increasingly-colder days is to establish a day to look forward to; Soup Sunday! What warms the heart better than a hot bowl of soup and some crusty bread?

That's easy: soup cooked with beer.

Yesterday's installment of Soup Sunday was Cheddar Cheese and Ale soup. The fantastic thing about this recipe is that the flavor changes given what type of cheddar you choose to use and what type of beer you choose to cook it with. It's cheese, potatoes, and beer. Pretty Midwest if you ask me.

This recipe is so basic it's shameful. And the total time, prep included, is about 45 minutes.

4 Tb butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large baking potato, peeled & chopped
1/2 Cup flour
3 Cups chicken broth
3 Cups grated sharp cheddar, whatever kind you like (or multiple kinds)
2 Cups beer (I used Mackinac Pale Ale from MBC)
1 Cup coarsely chopped tart apple

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add the onion and potato, and cook it until it's just slightly tender (about 10-12 minutes by my clock). Slowly add the flour, stirring it well to cover all the veggies, and then cook that roux for just a few minutes more. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, and cook it until the soup thickens. Add the cheese a bit at a time and cook until it's all melted. Add the beer, and cook it until it steams. From there, simmer it until you feel like it's ready to eat. Season it with salt and pepper, serve it up and top it off with the chopped apples.

That simple. Plus: it has beer in it. Give it a try, and try different beers and cheeses. Using the hoppy MBC Pale, the soup took on a slightly bitter quality. Maybe next time I'll try a Scottish Ale or a Barleywine...


Rickey Henderson 8:10 AM  

This sounds ungodly delicious. Rickey's totally cooking this tonight.

Smitty 8:32 AM  

It really is. With the hoppy beer, the soup was tangy/bitter on the tongue and back of the throat. I might try a sweeter beer or roastier beer next time. But like I said, with all the different cheddars available and all the beers you can imagine, the sky's the limit with this one.

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