IRISH RE DALE, CHEDDAR AND POTATO SOUP
Hands-on time: 15 minutes Total time: 35 minutes Makes: 8 servings
Irish red ale, named for the hue that results from adding roasted barley during brewing, lends a slightly sweet, toasted malt flavour to this update on traditional potato soup. Mature Irish Cheddar gives it a rich, sharp finish.
2 tbsp butter
3 leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 small white-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups Irish red ale (such as Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale or Rickard’s Red Irish Style Ale)
2 cups shredded aged Irish Cheddar cheese
¼ cup toasted pepitas
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook leeks, garlic and thyme, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in potatoes, broth and ale; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat; discard thyme. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pan over low heat. Gradually stir in Cheddar, a handful at a time, until melted. Divide among serving bowls; sprinkle with pepitas and hot pepper flakes, if using.
PER SERVING: about 249 cal, 11 g pro, 15 g total fat (8 g sat. fat), 19 g carb (3 g dietary fibre, 4 g sugar), 37 mg chol, 653 mg sodium, 303 mg potassium. % RDI: 24% calcium, 17% iron, 21% vit A, 17% vit C, 22% folate.