It was inevitable really. Food blogger meets master brewer-in-training and the result had to be either a food and beer pairing or even better, beer *in* the food. Don't think I missed those ears perking up there at the back... So far I've added beer to pasta, chocolate cake, mussels, an Irish coddle and now, soup.
This was my second attempt at mushroom soup (for Winter '11 at least) and while the first attempt wasn't bad (really, not bad at all), when TheHusband couldn't stop raving about his latest brewing success it seemed like a no-brainer to incorporate his brown ale into firstly the mussels of Sunday night, then the mushroom soup of last night.
My method had little rhyme nor reason, I'll be the first to admit. It was more a case of 'hmmm lets try a few glugs of this and see how it goes'. The soup didn't need much more - a touch of nutmeg and paprika and a generous helping of fried bacon* stirred through - it was a done deal.
*because bacon makes everything better, didn't you know?
Mushroom, Beer & Bacon Soup
A Creative Pot original
Serves 4 - 5
The beer adds lovely depth of flavour and this particular brew (a brown ale) seems to emphasise the peppery notes of the seasoning.
3 medium potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
500g (approx 1 lb) brown mushrooms, sliced
250g (approx 1/2 lb) button mushrooms, sliced
1 1/3 cup water (or sub with vegetable stock)
2/3 cup brown ale
3/4 cup cream
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
250g streaky bacon, sliced
a handful of parsley, chopped
1. Add potatoes to a pot of boiling water and cook (skin on) until tender. Alternatively microwave until cooked through. Set aside to cool down, before peeling.2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauteeing until the onion is glazed and looks almost see-through.
3. Add mushrooms, water and beer, bring to a boil and cook until mushrooms are soft.
4. Lower heat, break potatoes into chunks and add to the soup mixture. Puree with a handblender, then stir cream, paprika and nutmeg through. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
5. Heat a little bit of oil in a separate small frying pan over high heat. Add bacon to the pan and fry until lightly crispy.
6. Reheat soup until warm, then stir most of the bacon into the soup, reserving a few pieces for garnish. Ladle into soup bowls, topping with the reserved bacon bits and chopped parsley.
Full disclosure: The brown ale I used is TheHusband's own brew, so obviously I got it for free. After all, he wouldn't dare charge me for it...