Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bread and soup...

We were going to be having soup for dinner tonight, so rather than just having a bowl of chips or a salad to go with it, I thought this Beer-Cheese Bread might be a nice change of pace!

This is a basic quick bread, but instead of being of the sweet variety, this decidedly savory version uses beer and cheese to take it to a new level. With onions and garlic being added, pulsing their savory nature throughout this bread, we first needed to soften them and let the onions caramelize a bit to deepen their flavor. They are then added, along with a mound of shredded Monterey Jack cheese and a bottle of lager-style beer into a bowl of dry ingredients to be combined.

After scooping the viscous mixture into the baking pan, a tablespoon of golden love, a.k.a melted butter, is drizzled over the raw batter. Just over halfway through baking, the partially-baked loaf is quickly whisked out of the oven, another tablespoon of melted butter is poured on top and it goes back in to finish cooking and ensure a delicious dark brown crust to the bread. Unlike softer and sweet quick breads, the crust is more sturdy on this loaf, so you'll need to poke it with a wooden skewer or long toothpick to make sure the center has cooked through before pulling it out. With a faint bitterness from the beer, this bread, with its cheesy pockets, was a snap to throw together, moist, easy to slice and while good warm, it was even better toasted with a thin pat of butter oozing around on top.

As mentioned, we were having soup as the main portion of dinner. This Turkey and Potato Soup with Canadian Bacon caught my eye because I found some extra Canadian bacon in the freezer this weekend that was hiding behind the corn we froze from this summer. Sneaky!

The original recipe called for "mashed cooked baking potatoes", so I took that to mean potatoes that you cook and simply mash. It might have meant prepared mashed potatoes, but I figured they would have said that if it is what they intended... I could be wrong though! So while I then waited for the russets we chunked up and boiled to finish, I started softening a generous amount of vegetables - onions, celery and carrots to get the soup going. The bacon was also added along with them.

After jostling the vegetables around for a few minutes, we added chicken broth, shredded cooked turkey (your choice of meat - we used a combination of light and dark), the potatoes we mashed, fresh sage and a pinch of crushed red pepper. After simmering to let the soup blend, it had thickened well from the potatoes, but I thought it didn't look as creamy as one might imagine. I scooped up a spoonful for a taste, asking Jeff to come over to try it too, and we both thought it tasted good, so I left well enough alone. However, thinking about it now, a bit of milk or half-and-half might have been a nice addition to give this speedy soup a better texture. I'd also think about smashing in a few cloves of roasted garlic or maybe even baking the potatoes first, instead of boiling them. If you want a cleaner-looking soup, by all means skin the potatoes before mashing, but we quite like those nutritious peels, even if they muddle the appearance.


  1. That is a very tasty looking quick bread, my quick breads never come out that nice, they're always kind of deflated :D.

  2. I don't think there are many soups at all that aren't improved by some kind of pork product. Canadian bacon has so much flavor, and it is leaner than most other bacon, so it is a great ingredient for this soup.

  3. Erik - we quite enjoyed the Canadian Bacon in the soup! We don't use it often enough.