Sunday, May 9, 2010

"Beer Soup" or "How Much I Love the Boy"

Sometimes Boyfriend feels a little left out of my cooking adventures. I usually plan to make dishes I think he will like, but, seriously, we can't have fried food all the time. (I tease, I tease). Honestly, Boyfriend and I love a lot of the same foods, but there are some dishes on which we simply disagree. For example, we all know how I feel about bread pudding. Boyfriend can't stand it. (More for me!) Meanwhile, he loves all seafood, while my feeling is that if it is cooked and has fins, it tastes like low tide. (I am strictly a raw bar/crustacean kind of girl). How do I keep the domestic peace? Every once in a while I throw the kid a bone and make a dish I have little or no interest in eating - and that's exactly how I ended up making beer soup.

Last weekend, Boyfriend and I were watching Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" Prague episode. Boyfriend, being of Czech descent, could hardly contain his excitement: "Can you make that? - Or that? - And that?" I told him he could pick any recipe out of our Czech cookbook and I would make it for him. Of course, he chose the beer soup, the one thing in the book that sounded more like an elaborate dare than a traditional recipe. At first Boyfriend didn't believe I would make it, but a promise is a promise. Beer soup it is.

"Dude, my dad is going to be so jealous." - Boyfriend

Beer Soup

1/2 loaf dark bread (about 10 oz.), cut into small cubes
16 ounces good Czech beer
6 cups beef broth
1 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup half and half

1. Place bread in a bowl and cover bread with beer. Let it soak for a few minutes.

2. In a large pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the beer and bread mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. If using a blender or food processor to blend, let cool for a few minutes first.

3. Return puree to the large pot and bring to a slow boil. Stir in caraway seeds, salt, whole eggs and the yolk, using a big whisk or immersion blender to mix thoroughly. Take off the heat and mix in cream. Makes 6 servings.

P.S. You could probably play a lot with the flavor, depending on the bread you used. I used some kind of whole wheat everything bread from Whole Foods, but I would be interested to see how it tasted with a heartier dark bread. The soup was good, but wicked heavy. I feel full just thinking about it. That said, while I might not recommend making this specific recipe, I will say that this cookbook is great. Boyfriend and I have made several dishes, such as breaded veal cutlets with horseradish cream sauce and Chicken Paprikash, and will continue to use it frequently. Check it out - and be ready with a good store of butter.