|Vermont Cheddar Cheese Soup
½ cup small-diced pancetta (about 4 oz.)
1 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced (to yield about a cup)
2 ribs celery, diced (to yield about a cup)
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 TBS fresh thyme
1 large red potato, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
12 oz. beer such as Otter Creek Copper Ale or Nut Brown Ale (I used an Amber ale)
3½ cups whole milk
3 TBS Dijon mustard
3 dashes Worcestershire
2 dashes (or more) hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
freshly ground pepper
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about a pound)
2/3 cup flour
fresh Italian parsley, optional
In a large soup pot, sauté pancetta in olive oil until crisp and brown. (Alternatively, place the pancetta in the pan without any oil, cover the pan, and turn the heat to low. Cook for about 5 minutes. This should render out some of the fat . Remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium and cook until the pancetta is crisp.) Remove pancetta with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
In the rendered fat, sweat the onions, carrots, celery and pepper over medium heat for 15 minutes until soft.
Add thyme, potato and chicken broth and simmer until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Add beer.
Heat the milk in a separate pot until it just barely boils. Meanwhile, grate the cheese on the large-holed side of a grater and place it in a large Ziploc bag. Shake with the 2/3 cup flour. Add this cheese-flour mixture to the hot milk and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly.
Add the milk mixture to the pot with veggies and stock. Add mustard, sauces and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk for a few minutes to avoid curdling.
When serving, sprinkle some reserved pancetta in each bowl. Add more hot sauce to taste. Serve with bread.
Makes about 14 cups
butter for greasing the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 beer, prefer amber ale
4 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Grease a 9X5X3-inch loaf pan (a standard loaf pan) with softened butter.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add beer, stir until combined and place in prepared pan.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375ºF and bake for 30 minutes longer (or less) or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack. Let bread sit in pan.
Meanwhile, melt butter. Pour the butter over bread. Let sit for five minutes then turn bread out onto a cutting board and serve immediately with more softened butter. Yield = 1 standard loaf pan or 3 mini pans