Spuds.ie tastefest

Today, spud duty calls – as it so often does – and I will be busy seeing and sampling all that the SPUDS.ie Tastefest has to offer. I will, in due course, report on the tuberous goings-on but, in the meantime – and lest you should find yourself feeling sad and spudless – I took the precaution of making some potato soup. This one has added beer, guaranteed to keep you cheery ’til I get back.

Potato and Beer Soup

Potato and beer soup

This soup is a simple enough gathering of potatoes, onion, garlic and celery, but with beer for added body, and perked up by the addition of mustard, soy sauce and some grated cheese. It’s a recipe I did for the crew over at potato.ie and you can see what I had to say on the subject of soup – potato and otherwise – over here.

You’ll need:

  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 large red onions (approx. 400g), finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium-sized potatoes (approx. 600g), washed, skins left on, and finely diced
  • 4 large sticks of celery (approx. 200g), finely diced
  • 700ml light veg stock
  • 500ml red ale
  • 3 tblsp soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dijon or other mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar or to taste (or use sherry or lemon juice)
  • approx. 50g mature cheddar cheese, grated (or use another flavoursome hard cheese, like Gruyère or Glebe Brethan)

You’ll also need:

  • A hand-held or other blender for blending the soup.

The Steps:

  • Place a large saucepan over a medium heat. When hot add vegetable oil to coat the pan. Add the onions and fry for around 10 minutes or until softened and starting to brown a little at the edges.
  • Add the garlic, stir and fry for around a minute, then add the potatoes and celery and fry for another 5 minutes more.
  • Add the stock, ale, soy sauce and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for around 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf and blend the mixture using a handheld or other blender, leaving some chunks if you like.
  • Add mustard and black pepper to taste and more soy sauce if you think it needs it. Finish with a splash of sherry vinegar – only a small amount is needed to brighten the taste so gently does it – or you can try sherry or lemon juice for different finishing effects.
  • The soup will be fairly thick, so thin as desired with boiling water. To serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle a little grated cheese on top. Some cheese toasties alongside would make it even better.

The Variations:

  • You could, to mix a metaphor, beef this up by adding some cooked ham or bacon. You could also experiment with different beers.

The Results:

  • Serves around 6