Today’s soup is going to be the opening course and a prelude to scallop ceviche and a slow roasted pork roast. It’s rich, sharp and smooth and a fantastic opening for a spring dinner – cheesy asparagus and ale soup:
Although you can replace the ale in this recipe for stock (in that case I’d replace the water and ale with a combined equal amount of stock) but I far prefer the taste beer brings to this soup. It also makes for a natural pairing (and what pairs better with beer than cheese and potatoes)!
Any sharp cheese will do if you don’t have Colby. I’d use at least a half cup although you can use as much as you like. Be careful to add this towards the end, off the heat, in order to avoid cheese separation. There’s nothing worse.
- 6 potatoes
- 2 bottles of beer (ale would be a more authentic take on this soup but any beer will do), I used a pilsner.
- Lots of garlic (we used 3 cloves)
- A bunch of asparagus (you can use as much as you want – we used about a half pound)
- Sharp cheese (a half cup or more)
- 1 large onion
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Dill (fresh preferably). We used 2 teaspoons of fresh stuff (you could use 1 teaspoon of dry)
- Vinegar (I used sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar would also work)
- Pour the beer into a large pot. Measure 2 more bottles worth of water and add it to the pot. Turn to maximum.
- Peel and chop the potatoes, throw them in the liquid once it starts to boil.
- Peel and chop the onions and garlic.
- Heat a frying pan on medium-high and add the olive oil.
- Fry the onions and garlic once the oil is hot. Add the asparagus about 30 seconds after the onions and garlic hit the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper and fry until soft and transfer to the pot with potatoes (it’s ok and actually preferred if they haven’t finished cooking).
- Once the potatoes are soft, remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender or food processor (using care with hot liquid).
- Taste your soup. Balance the flavor by adding additional salt, pepper and vinegar to taste (start with 1 teaspoon of vinegar and add in half teaspoon increments from there).
- Add the dill and cheese and stir. Though your soup will have cooled a lot there will be lots of heat to safely melt the cheese and the dill will keep its shape for visual appeal.
- Taste again 10 minutes later (the dill will continue to infuse its flavour, especially if you used dry dill) and balance will salt, pepper and vinegar as before.
- Warm gently when ready to eat!