Monday, September 23, 2013


I get sort of excited when I have food cravings. For so long all I had were aversions and I started to think maybe this pregnancy thing wasn't all it's cracked up to be. It turns out it IS; I just hadn't gotten to the good part yet.
And by the good part I mean the part where I get to eat almost an entire order of Louie's cheesy bread by myself and no one can judge me for it because I'm growing a baby.

Anyway, one craving that hit me hard last week was for the Blonde Lager and Smoked Gouda soup from Phantom Canyon.
I like getting that and the pub salad with honey beer mustard as a meal because it allows me to order something with the word beer in it without actually having to drink a beer. 
"Oh I would totally order a beer with this, but I'm already eating two things with beer in them so I don't want to overdo it. It definitely has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a small child and can't handle the taste of beer."
Say beer again.

Anyway, since I'm too poor to go out to eat I was SO excited to discover that they released the recipe a few years back and that it was posted online that I was compelled to drive all the way across town to Whole Foods* (apparently smoked gouda is way too fancy to hang out at my Walmart Neighborhood Market).

Saturday night was the night. As per the directions, I brought the beer, chicken stock and potatoes to a boil, turned the heat to medium, covered the pot and set a timer for 90 minutes and started watching The First Wives Club on Netflix. BECAUSE I FOLLOW DIRECTIONS BLINDLY. Also I love Goldie Hawn.

But right around the part where they fall down the side of the building in the window washer cart, I was like, "Hold smells like...burning."

I ran into the kitchen to find that all the liquid had evaporated, leaving only a few charred pieces of potato cemented to the bottom of the pot. As it turns out, you can't simmer something for 90 minutes on medium heat; you can only continue to boil the crap out of it.

So then I cried a river of disappointed tears and Gary took me to Jason's Deli to ease my pain (because I wasn't kidding about not being able to afford to eat at Phantom Canyon) and also maybe to let the house air out a little.

ANYWAY. I'm totally over it because we tried again on Sunday and IT TURNED OUT PERFECTLY. Luckily the only casualties in the first go 'round were the chicken stock, one beer and a few potatoes, so my $9 wedge of solid gold snobby cheese hadn't gone to waste.

It was so good I sort of wanted to die. It is surprisingly filling, to the point that I served it with some breadsticks and no meat and even Gary Gray Himself was satisfied.

So for real this time, here is a recipe that you are free to follow without fear because I love you enough to tell you that it only needs to simmer for 45 minutes.
I didn't take this picture...but this lady did. AND she's the reason I found the recipe in the first place.
Smoked Gouda and Blonde Ale Soup
Serves 4

1 (12-ounce) bottle of blonde ale (I used Shiner Light Blonde)

3 cups chicken stock

1/2  to 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced small

Bay leaf

1 pint heavy cream

3/4 pounds smoked Gouda cheese, grated

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large heavy soup pot, bring beer, chicken stock and potatoes to a boil; add bay leaf.

2. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes become very tender (about 45 minutes).

3. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and allow soup to gently boil, uncovered, until it starts to thicken, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.

4. Add the shredded cheese and whisk briskly until it melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The original recipe says to puree with a stick blender or food-processing wand and then strain through a fine mesh strainer, but I didn't really think that was necessary since the potatoes totally disintegrated just from the whisking.

Not to mention the fact that I was less than inclined to do anything the original recipe told me since I'd been burned - quite literally - by it once already.

Whatever, I'm not bitter. AND NEITHER IS THIS SOUP. IT'S AMAZING.

*Speaking of Whole should read this article if you like to laugh.

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