In any given fairy tale, myth, epic, or story, I am always drawn to descriptions of feasts. Often they come after a long journey or a period of deprivation, and so the welcoming of home and hearth and most importantly, dinner, offer warmth and comfort as well as food. I linger over the descriptions of the offerings on the table, and how good they must seem to the weary travelers in the story. While I do not as yet have my own fairy tale cottage (I dream!), I can make my very own fairy tale feast. Now that Fall is upon us, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite attempts to recreate that cozy feeling.
So welcome, weary traveler, to the first course in my Fairy Tale Feast: Apple, Cheddar, Ale, and Potato Soup.
The first recipe I want to share is one I’ve modified from an existing recipe for a Slow Cooker Cheesy Beer and Potato Soup from the food blog Baked by Rachel. It looks like a great recipe as is, but I really wanted to include apples, and then I had to rebalance the ingredient quantities to accommodate the change. I also don’t use a slow-cooker, and I don’t imagine a fairy sprite would either, so I had to experiment a little with the execution of the recipe. All quantities are rough measurements based on what I had available, and can be rounded up or down based on what you have on hand.
Prep should take about 10 minutes, and cooking time clocks in at a little over an hour, but may vary depending on your heat settings. It requires fairly close attention throughout, however.
- Large pot, stainless steel or cast iron
- Stick blender, potato masher, or other blending apparatus
- Cutting board
- Chefs knife
- 4 cups of Butter Potatoes, chopped
- 1 small-medium apple, small diced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bottle of Honey Brown Ale
- 2 cups of vegetable or mushroom stock
- 1.5 tablespoons of a butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 7 ounces medium cheddar cheese, shredded
- salt and pepper
1. First, mise en place. Wash and chop the potatoes, apple, onion, and garlic, and shred the cheese. Cheese en place. I don’t pay too much attention to chopping my ingredients too neatly or with too much precision. When in the land of faerie, embrace the rustico treatment.
2. Next, in a large pot, heat butter on medium heat until melted, then add onions and apples. Cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper, and stir.
3. Add beer, and bring to a boil.
4. Then add potatoes, and another dash of salt and pepper. Stir, and then bring to a boil again.
5. Once boiling, add in your vegetable stock. Bring to back to a boil one more time, and then lower the heat. Cover, and let simmer for 40 minutes.
6. While waiting, clean up the kitchen as much as possible, prep rolls for baking, make a salad to go with your meal, or mingle with weary travelers who have come to you for help on their journey.
7. When 40 minutes is up, test the potatoes with a fork. They should pierce easily. If they feel hard, let them simmer for a bit more until they’re ready for mashing, then remove from heat for blending.
8. Blend all ingredients in the pot. I use a stick blender for this purpose, but you could also use a potato masher for a more rustic, handmade feel, or pour the mixture into a regular blender and blend in batches, and then return to the pot when the mixture is mashed/blended into desired texture.
9. Stir in cheese and heavy cream, and another round of salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the cheese melts in evenly.
10. Check the texture. Mine looked a little thin at this stage, so I let it simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered to steam off some excess moisture. Also, my rolls needed a few more minutes, so it worked out nicely.
And that’s it! Serve hot and enjoy with a roll, some leafy greens, or a bottle of Honey Brown.
Check back in a few weeks for the second course in my fairy tale feast, a recipe created in detail by my husband and I: Forager’s Pie.