Awoke this morning to find a dusting of snow upon the ground; nothing unusual for winter time in Monticello. It was cold outside, the type of cold that bites right through you; the wind whipping the light, fluffy snow around. My dogs enjoy playing in the snow, but even they didn't want to stay outside too long.
Yes indeed, it's cold out there and that calls for something to warm you to your very core...soup. Rooting (no pun intended) around the pantry, the red skinned potatoes called to me; heck, they practically begged me to use them. I wanted that type of soup that slides down your throat and stays with you as it warms you up. I wanted a smooth chowder that I could remember with each little burp; with soft potatoes that would mash in your mouth with just the slightest pressure. I wanted Beer Cheddar Soup with Potatoes.
Now for those of you who, for whatever reason, do not like the idea of alcohol in your food; no worries, the alcohol cooks out while leaving a hardy flavor.
Beer Cheddar Soup with Potatoes
8 cups dark lager
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 lbs potatoes; peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and rinsed thoroughly
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided in half
1 cup diced onion
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup half n’ half
In a large stockpot, over medium heat, bring the beer, stock, white pepper and cayenne to a low boil. Add the potatoes and continue to cook until tender.
Prepare cheese sauce in large saucepan; saute' onions in butter until softened; stir in flour and continue to cook until mixture turns a light brown. Whisk in half n’ half; add in 2 cups Cheddar cheese and stir until smooth.
Add remaining shredded cheese into stockpot; stir until melted. Whisk in cheese sauce, turn off heat and serve.
*Garnishes: crumbled crisp bacon, sliced green onions, toasted croutons.
Makes 10 servings.