Recipe Review Feb 16, 2013

Recipe Review

I want to get to a place where I can review entire cookbooks for you, hopefully consistent readers. But now with what all is on my plate, a recipe review now and then will have to suffice. Today is my first one from a blog called How Sweet It Is via ZipList.

I could go on for days on how much I love Zip List. For those that do not have it (it’s on the web and syncs for Apple and Android devices), ZipList is a grocery management/recipe box/meal planning piece of Heaven. It works with loads of blogs and places like Food Network and Epicurious to bring in recipes that people can search, place the recipe on a meal plan for the week and its ingredients in your shopping list. I’m working on the meal planning part. It’ll come. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. But ZipList is worth its price, which is free.

Anyway, back to the recipe. How Sweet It Is is a blog written by self-taught Jessica. I’ve only met her through her food. But I really think she and I could hang out because of our food preferences. Especially the recipe I’m talking about in this post – Beer Cheese Soup. My husband’s ex-boss raved about the Beer Cheese Soup at a local place called Bardog. It got Hubby’s wheels turning and he asked me if I could make one. I said sure. So I hopped on the well-loved ZipList and found this recipe in the Beer Cheese Soup search. I made it and you would have thought I had spun gold he loved it so much. So I made it again, and again – but it broke again and again. Then I figured out what I was doing wrong and this is the biggest tip I have for anyone attempting this recipe – be sure the pot isn’t too hot when you start to melt your cheese. Otherwise your soup *will* break, you will have clumps of goop in oily schmaltz and, in my case, a very disappointed husband. I don’t like having a very disappointed husband.

I’ll have the recipe here and any changes/additions/etc. I make will be in italic. OK? OK.

Beer Cheese Soup from How Sweet It Is

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/09/beer-cheese-soup/

Beer Cheese Soup

YIELD: SERVES 4-6       PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES          COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 40 MINUTES

Ingredients:

3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 red pepper, finely diced (I don’t use this, Hubby hates bell pepper)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I don’t use this, I keep the bacon grease instead of draining the bacon)
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups of your favorite beer (I find that lighter wheat beers work best)
(I have used Bud Light, Guinness and Foster’s in the blue can, my fave so far is the Foster’s)
1 cup half and half
4 ounces sharp white cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces extra sharp yellow cheddar, freshly grated
4 ounces Colby jack, freshly grated
fresh herbs (I like cilantro) for garnish (I don’t use these either, Hubby says bacon is garnish enough)
salt and pepper to season if needed

Directions:

Heat a large stock pot (I use a cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Fry until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low and add onions, peppers and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high and add in butter. Once sizzling, which in flour and cook for 3-4 minutes until flour is nutty and golden. Add in beer and stirring constantly, cook for 5 minutes so they alcohol cooks out and the mixture somewhat thickens.
Add in half and half, then reduce heat to low (make sure it cools a bit!!) and gradually add cheese while stirring. Stir until smooth, then fold in bacon and serve immediately. (I put bacon over top and my brother, who I turned onto this recipe as well uses his immersion blender to smooth out the onion.) Garnish fresh chopped herbs over top if desired.

[Because any cheese soup can get “gloppy” after it sits, I suggest making this as close to serving time if possible. If the mixture gets too thick, add a bit more liquid (beer, milk, broth) and

stir over low heat. That is also how I recommend re-heating the soup

 as well.]

–End recipe—
And it’s that simple. This winter I’ve made this on average once a week and it disappears quicker that a snow in Memphis. There have even been words over the last bowl. So make this wisely. You have powerful ju-ju in your possession now. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

What soups are you using to warm your body and soul this winter? I’m looking for more to try.