Green Chile-Cheddar-Stout Soup with Irish Brown Bread
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Green Chile-Cheese-Stout Soup
Makes 4 generous servings
4 slices Irish bacon (also known as back bacon), cut into lardons
6 tablespoons Irish butter, unsalted
1 small carrot, cut in small dice
1 rib celery, cut into small dice
½ large Spanish onion, cut into small dice
6 brussels sprouts, outer leaves peeled off and julienned and set aside, inner part cut into small dice
2 poblano chiles, roasted and peeled, cut into small dice
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
One 12-ounce bottle Irish Stout, something round and mild
¾ cups half and half
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2½ cups Irish Cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, as needed
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add bacon lardons and cook slowly until the fat is rendered out and bacon is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and place on plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Remove all the bacon fat from the pan and reserve to use later.
2. Using the same pan, melt the butter and sweat the carrots, celery, onion and diced Brussels sprouts until soft, approximately 8 minutes, seasoning the vegetables with salt and pepper as you go. Optional: Meanwhile in a separate, small saucepan, add the reserved bacon fat. When the oil is hot enough add the Brussels sprout leaves and fry them for a soup garnish, if so desired. Remove them using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.
3. Returning to the Dutch oven, add the roasted poblanos to the vegetables and cook another 3 minutes for peppers to warm through and flavors to meld. Add the flour to the vegetable mixture, lowering the heat if necessary as to not scorch the flour, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.
4. Return the heat to medium and add the chicken stock to the pan, stirring to combine. Let cook another few minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Add the beer and stir to incorporate. Allow this mixture to come to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for approximately 8 minutes, until mixture reduces and thickens.
5. Add the half and half and the Worcestershire to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cheese to the pan and stir it into the soup until melted and combined. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
6. While you could certainly serve this soup chunky, much like a chowder, I prefer to puree this in my Vita-Mix. As always, exercise caution when working with hot liquids and a blender. Working in batches, ladle the warm mixture out of pot and place in blender. Pulse the soup, adding the chopped cilantro to the blender, and blend until soup is green and fully pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding lemon juice as needed for balance and brightness.
7. At this point soup can return to pot for further warming or can be ladled into warm bowls if ready to serve. Garnish with frizzled Brussels sprout leaves (if using), bacon lardons and chopped chives. Irish brown bread on the side is the perfect vehicle for dipping.
Irish Brown Bread
Makes one 10-inch round loaf
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white cake flour
½ cup oat bran
½ cup flax meal
½ cup wheat bran
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 ¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven 400ºF. Grease a 10-inch round springform pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, cake flour, oat bran, flax meal, wheat bran, baking soda, brown sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Make well in center and set aside.
3. In a smaller bowl, add the buttermilk, yogurt, melted butter and egg. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the center well of the dry ingredients. Slowly work in to incorporate the mixture until combined (the mixture will be quite wet). Add additional tablespoons of flour, one at a a time, as needed, to help form dough. Press the dough down into pan slightly to help form it into a round shape.
4. Using sharp serrated knife, lightly slash the top of the bread, making a cross, dividing the bread into 4 quarters. Bake for approximately 50 minutes until the bread feels solid and sounds hollow if tapped on the bottom. Turn bread out onto a wire rack, wrap in clean kitchen towel, and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Want more Irish bread in your life? Check out Stephanie's Irish Soda Bread with Fennel, Semolina and Golden Raisins