St. Pat's is around the corner and in anticipation we're serving up a warm bowl of potato cheddar soup, flavored with a bit of Irish Guinness extra stout. Do you ever cook with Guinness stout? It has a wonderfully deep taste from roasted barley and malt, perfect to accent this potato cheddar soup.
I've made several batches of this soup. Leftovers are dangerous, I tend to eat them all!
Now, one of the things I've learned over the years is that either you are a Guinness fan or not. If you are not, then you likely will not like this soup. But if you are, I think you will love it.
Ireland produces some of the best sharp cheddar cheeses out there. So if you have access to Irish sharp cheddar, by all means use it! You might not need to use as much as is called for in this recipe. Maybe 4 ounces instead of 6. But experiment to find the balance you like.
Potato Cheddar Guinness Soup
Sharp cheddar cheeses vary with intensity of flavor. For this recipe we assume a standard grocery store label extra sharp cheddar.
If you are using a specialty sharp cheddar (some of the Irish cheddars are lovely), you may be able to accomplish the same amount of flavor with less cheese than is called for in this recipe.
Some people are much more sensitive to bitter flavors than others. It’s genetic. So if that’s you, I would use only a quarter of a cup or skip the beer entirely, and just add more stock.
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 celery rib, chopped or sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock (add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt if using unsalted stock)
- 1 cup (250 ml) Guinness extra stout (do not use draught)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 6 ounces (170 g) grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- Chopped chives for garnish
Sauté onions and celery:
Melt butter on medium heat in a large, thick-bottomed pot. Add the onions and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the celery and cook 5 minutes more.
Add the sliced potatoes to the pot. Add the chicken stock, Guinness extra stout, and thyme:
Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender and easily fall apart, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Purée the soup, adding grated cheddar:
When the potatoes are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Pour potato mixture into a bowl and let cool for a few minutes.
Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender, filling the blender bowl only a third full at a time.
Add a portion of the grated cheddar to the blender bowl as well. (If it takes 3 batches to purée the soup, divide the cheese into 3 portions.)
Holding the lid of the blender down (to keep the hot liquid from erupting out of the blender), pulse until smooth. Return the smooth purée to the soup pot.
Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and paprika:
Taste for salt and add more if necessary. If the soup is too sour or bitter to your taste, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the soup.
Garnish with chopped chives.