Wednesday, September 26, 2007
A LABOR OF LOVE
Here it is! This is my cookbook, "Contemporary Brewhouse Cooking." It represents two years of work for me in that I spent that much time working on - and perfecting - the recipes in it. I put a lot of passion into learning about the old Belgian tradition of "Cuisine a la Biere" and brought to it my own perspective as a modern chef. I experimented with the many varieties of micro-brews available to me in the Pacific Northwest and learned how they responded to heat, combined with other ingredients, and paired with food. I also used some if the bi-products of brewing (spent grain, brewer's yeast and wort) in many of my recipes.
In this process...I had to drink a lot of beer! This was the hard part of the job (yeah, right!) but I learned so much about beer by drinking it that I gained so much respect for its complexity. It is as complex as wine, and what most people don't realize, more versatile for cooking. Does that kind of pique your interest?
These recipes were developed while I was the Executive Chef of the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Company. My menu dishes and fresh sheet items were cooked and served from the these recipes, and my cookbook sprang from them. Thousands of happy diners have eaten these dishes.
One of the most renowned dishes was the Ale and Cheddar Soup. You can see it presented on the front cover of my book. Here is the recipe.
Ale and Cheddar Soup
2 Tbsp butter
3 strips bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups amber ale, use a pale ale that is not to highly hopped (bitter)
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly milled white pepper
1. In a large saucepan, heat butter over high heat until slightly brown and nutty. Add bacon and saute until brown. Add onion and saute until tender.
2. Add flour while stirring and cook until flour turns golden.
3. Add stock and ale and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and simmer until they are well done and soft as for mashing.
4. Transfer to a blender and puree until very smooth. Add cheese a little at a time and continue to blend until all cheese is added and the mixture is smooth. Transfer into a clean saucepan on medium-high heat.
5. Allow mixture to reach a simmer and add cream while stirring. Add seasonings and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and serve.
Yield: 4 portions
Posted by Livingston Cooks at 7:54 AM