Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beer Cheese Soup #9

JC, who has "endured" my various attempts at beer cheese soup, with and without ham, and loves my Loaded Baked Potato soup, thinks this is the best one yet. Thankfully, I wrote down what I did before I forgot! This really is a potato soup, with a bit of ham for flavor, and the beer and cheese. It's broth-based, so not as heavy as a lot of versions. I used Magic Hat #9, which is a "not quite pale ale," according to the company website, and it was wonderful with this soup. Moving on to the recipe.....

  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 ounces finely diced ham 
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 12 ounce bottle good beer (something with a little body, not Coors Light or Bud, please!) 
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 envelopes Goya Ham Stock, dissolved in 2 1/2 cups water (If you can't find it, use 6 1/2 cups chicken broth)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 5 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed and diced small  
  • 2 cups grated white cheddar
  • 2 cups grated Swiss or Gruyere

Melt the butter over medium-high heat and add the ham. Brown the ham lightly, and while it's cooking, pulse the carrot, onion, shallot and garlic in a food processor or chop them very finely. Add the vegetables to the ham and stir well. Cook, covered, over medium heat, for five minutes, stirring twice. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and stir well. Cook, stirring constantly, for three minutes. Add the bottle of beer and mix well to combine. Let simmer a minute or two.

Slowly stir in the chicken broth and ham stock/water, plus the bay leaves and pepper. Add the potatoes. Raise the heat to high and boil 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 10 minutes. Slowly stir in the grated cheeses until melted and remove from the heat. Top each serving with crisp, crumbled bacon if desired.