On Christmas day it was really cold here in Tuscany: the sky was clear of clouds and the sun seemed to shine more than usual, but just left the house, warmed by the fire, the freezing air quickly reddened the cheeks and pricked the nose.
The clear winter day was too tempting not to attempt an afternoon stroll, enticed by the bright air and by the sun going down in an almost fairy-tale scenery behind the hills.
The hills in the dusk had turned purple, gradually fading into the deep blue and the moss-green. Then suddenly the nearest trees lighted up in warm colors, red and brown, and the air began to beam in the twilight tones, vibrating of life with the last leaves on the trees.
In these moments you feel the magic of Nature, its power and its mystery. In these moments you value what remains of the day.
What remains of the Christmas day, though?
After a lunch with more courses than a wedding feast there are many leftovers in the fridge: small pieces of cheese from the festive platter, a tiny pot with some good chicken stock used for the homemade cappelletti and few spoonfuls of mustard made for the bollito misto.
If you happen to have also half a glass of dark beer and a few slices of bread, do not miss the chance to make a creamy soup with a rich and deep flavour, to be eaten steaming hot in these winter days of frost and crystal clear air.
- 25 g of butter
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 125 ml of dark beer
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon of mustard
- 150 g of mixed cheese (fontina cheese, Emmental, Parmesan or Parmesan crusts cut into cubes, gorgonzola, blue cheese, cheddar, Stilton...)
- salt and pepper
- Slice the red onion very thin and sauté for about 5 minutes with a knob of butter, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until transparent and soft.
- Pour in the dark beer, let it simmer for a few minutes to make the alcohol evaporate then blend it with an immersion blender into a cream.
- Add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and stir with a whisk to remove any lumps and make it silky.
- Stir in the hot chicken broth and the cheese, grated or cut into tiny cubes, whisking continuously.
- Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently with the whisk to prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste: the amount of salt needed will depend on the cheese you used.
- When the soup is smooth and thick remove it from the heat, spoon the soup into individual bowls and serve it with a slice of grilled bread with a sprinkle of grated cheese on top.
Searching for other ideas to mix cheese and beer in a comforting soup, I found this Anthony Bourdain’s video, look at that soup, sounds divine! Do you have any interesting recipe to share? I am curious to try other versions!