Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Beer and Cheddar Soup

 I recently made this for my family's Olympics Opening Ceremonies party. (I'm sure every family has an Olympics party, right?) In keeping with the International theme, we always choose foods from different countries for our menu. This time I chose Ireland and Russia. For Russia, I made Beef Stroganoff (which was FABULOUS, btw) and this soup was my Irish contribution.
 It's really easy to throw together and it's rich and hearty. BIG BOLD flavors too! Actually, tbh, this isn't the exact recipe I made for the party. The original batch had a VERY strong beer flavor. (You know that bite that comes from the hops in the beer? yeah, that.) It was fine, but I think it overpowered all the other flavors.  My brother Chris loved it, but I felt that I needed to tweak it a little. So, here is the newer version.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!

1 onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
12 oz bottle lager (recommended: Harp Lager) 
32 oz chicken stock 
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs potatoes (peeled and diced) 
2 tbs cornstarch 
1 lb cheddar (shredded) 
8 oz Cheese Whiz
Bacon, crisp and crumbled 
Chopped chives

 In a large heavy pot, saute the onions in butter until they begin to soften. Add the beer and chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Stir together cornstarch with a little cold water. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the soup and reduce the heat to low. Stir in the shredded Cheddar, a little at a time. Turn off heat and whisk in the cheese sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into serving bowls. Top with bacon and chives.

This would be fabulous served in a bread or pretzel bowl. For a little extra decadence, serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.  YUM.

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