I am guilty. Guilty of weeknight cooking ruts. We tend to stick to the protein, veg, not-so-terrible-for-you carb kinda format around here. It’s simple, it doesn’t require too much thinking when you’re at the grocery store. But simple doesn’t have to mean same old same old. This summer, I vowed to broaden my horizons and explore new side dishes. And it worked. Now I have some great new go-to’s that are fast and easy on a busy weeknight.
Now that it’s fall, I would like to help you get out of your rut. This soup is one of my weeknight favorites. It is perfect on that first drizzly night of fall, when you’re not used to the weather yet, and the cold is making you cranky, and you just want to go home to something comforting. You probably have most of this in your pantry already. You can come home, spend a few minutes chopping, and have a hot, hearty meal in less than an hour. And most of that time is just you sitting on the couch while the potatoes boil.
Get out of your rut and try this soup. It’s like wrapping a cozy, cheesy, beer-bacon blanket around yourself.
Beer Cheese Potato Soup with Bacon
Adapted from relish.com
4 large Russet potatoes, roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
4 slices bacon, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
One onion, diced
4 oz. mild or medium cheddar cheese
4 oz gruyere cheese
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup beer – pale ale or other hoppy beer
1 cup whole milk
In a heavy-bottomed stock pot, fry the bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add a pat of butter, sauté onions and carrots in butter and bacon grease until onions become translucent and carrots begin to get tender.
Add chicken stock, bacon and potatoes to pan. (Save a bit of bacon for garnish at the end.) Season with some salt – not too much at this stage as the cheese and bacon will add to the salt content. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. You might have to add a splash of chicken stock during this process if the mixture is very thick. Be careful not to add too much, as the beer and milk that you are going to add later will thin out the soup and you want it to stay thick and hearty.
Stir in the beer, then the cheese, then the milk. You can do this over very low heat because the gruyere might take a minute to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from heat, ladle into bowls and top with bacon and a bit more cheese.