Cheese Soup

Smoked Porter and Cheese Soup

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. butter
1 large onion, chopped 1 celery stalk, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 Tbs. all purpose flour
2 cups beef or chicken broth
2 medium potatoes; peeled and cubed
12 oz. bottle of dark beer (Porter or Stout)
1 cup cream
1/8 tsp. cayenne (red) pepper or to taste
Dash salt
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup additional shredded cheese

Instructions:

Melt butter in a large pot. Add onion, celery and carrots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; cook one minute, stirring often. Stir in broth.

Add potatoes and beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Transfer vegetables to a food processor or blender. Process until pureed. Return to pan; add cream, cayenne, and salt to taste. Reheat to a simmer. Add cheese, 1/2 cup at a time and stir until melted. Do not boil. Garnish with additional shredded cheese and if you wish, bacon bits and popcorn.

Some suggested beer and cheese pairings:

- Fresh Mozzarella with Dark Lager.
A wonderful contrast: In this case dark malts and sweet dairy flavors. Try Gordon Biersch Märzen or for a lighter touch Heineken Dark.

- Pepper Jack with Winter Warmer.
A big, malty beer will stand up well to the hot peppers and Monterey Jack. Great in front of a roaring fire. Consider Deschutes Jubelale, Pyramid Snowcap Ale.

- Smoked Gouda and Bock.
Another beer for cool days, smooth yet with enough toastiness to take on the mild smokiness of the cheese. A perfect choice would be Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock.

- Gruyere and Witbier.
The spices of the Belgian White beer -- coriander, orange peels and other 'secret" choices -- should meld well with the earthy, nutty Gruyere. Try with the origianl Witbier: Hoegaarden.

- Aged Cheddar and Porter or Stout.
A big Stout or Porter, with lots of chocolate and black malts so that it hints of coffee, should be able handle the complexity of a well aged, sharp Cheddar. Try Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Alaskan Smoked Porter (WOW!) or the Irish classic: Guinness Stout.

Makes 6 servings

Rated 5 out of 5 stars