Arne and I honeymooned at his parents’ rustic cabin in Woodland Park, up a mountain pass from Colorado Springs. At that time neither of us drank alcohol, so I’m not sure what led us, while we were exploring the Springs, to venture into Phantom Canyon Brewing Company. At any rate, in we did venture. We ordered the Smoked Gouda and Ale soup (now on the menu as “Blonde Lager and Smoked Gouda soup,” but I think that’s been changed), and a love affair was born.
For years Phantom Canyon was my favorite restaurant anywhere – whenever we visited Arne’s folks at the cabin, we timed it so we passed through Colorado Springs at mealtime – largely on the strength of that soup. Creamy, gently smoky, warming, and insanely rich, it was always accompanied by a slice of slightly sweet, grainy beer bread.
Eventually, we moved on to try new things when visiting Colorado Springs. It’s been years since we’ve been to Phantom Canyon. But this fall, as the weather has started to cool, I’ve been thinking about that luscious, warm bowlful. Finally, I decided it was time to reproduce it.
Creamy Smoked Gouda and Ale Soup
Serves: 3-4 Time: 45 minutes Hands-on: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
8 ounces ale, lager, or other light-flavored beer
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces smoked Gouda, coarsely grated
1 teaspoon dry mustard (or Dijon)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 dashes hot sauce, optional
Melt the butter in a soup pot or other heavy pot. When it’s melted, add the onion, carrot, and a pinch of salt. Saute 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
Add the flour and stir to incorporate. When the flour is thoroughly blended in, add 1/2 cup of broth and stir in thoroughly. Add the rest of the broth, slowly at first, stirring to make sure there are no lumps. Stir in the beer, then the cream and milk. Let simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft.
Add the cheese to the soup in handfuls, fully incorporating one addition before adding the next. Stir in the mustard, nutmeg, black pepper, and optional hot sauce. Blend in the pot with an immersion blender. For a smoother soup, or if you don’t have an immersion blender, remove from the heat for 5 minutes, then remove to a blender and blend carefully until smooth. Return to the pot and warm gently.
Serve hot, with bread and salad.
NaBloPoMo 2014 Post #8