Loadshed Beer and Gouda Soup: A Bowl of Sweatpants Comfort!
You have heard me say it ample times and you are still going to hear it from me so many more! Autumn has to be the best season ever! What is there not to like about Autumn? There is literally nothing you can’t love about this time of the year!
Autumn is filled with spectacular beauty with the most vivid and fiery sunsets and landscapes. So from now until end of May take time to watch the fiery sunrises and sunsets. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy every minute.
Living in the heart of the winelands, you start to notice how the vineyards are starting changing colour from a bright luscious green to more warming colours of reds, oranges, and flaming yellows. (All the colours a red haired should wear!)
Temperatures are now at a more pleasant level, so now you can enjoy taking lovely walks, just enjoying the beautiful natural serenity, Autumn has to offer you.
And finally well actually not finally, I can give you a hundred reasons why to fall in love with Autumn, but that is not why you are here, Are you? I mean you are hungry and looking for something to eat. So I will wrap this up!
My final reason for today of why to fall in love with Autumn: Comfort food! After the summer months of indulging in quick suppers and salads it is now time to bring out those comforting foods like soups, stews, and warming spices. Autumn is about spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking up a storm with all the best local seasonal ingredients you can find. Yes it is time to bring out those Autumn Wines!
Loadshed Beer and Gouda Soup Recipe
As it is getting more cooler and cooler, strange how you immediately start to look for something comforting, like a warm and cosy snuggle in the tummy.
After a hard day at work there is nothing more perfect than slipping into your comfy clothes… immediately when you get home! Yes folks that is even before you start cooking something really good to match your current mood.
This beer and gouda soup is the perfect lazy night/weekend soup for days of couching… wrapped up in a fleecy blanket, sweatpants, big woolly jersey, unmatching socks, cuddled on the couch with a cat or two or three in front of the TV or soaking the warm lazy afternoon sun with a good book.
Who would have thought that this beer and gouda soup could be that friend? It is cheesy (always wanted to just eat melted cheese? Well now you can), it has bacon (anything with bacon is good… right?) it has beer (I mean do I need to say more?) smokiness (the perfect autumn flavour) a little heat from the chili (it is just a tiny spark that helps to cut through the richness of the soup).
Did you know that Beer Soup is more of a German tradition? It is a soup that is usually roux based made with beer. Did you know that during Medieval times in Europe beer soup was served as a breakfast poured over bread?Wikipedia
What Cheese Should I Use?
Whatever you do… Do not use pre-grated cheese! Come on guys don’t be lazy use a decent block of cheese and get your husband/partner to do the grating! You want your cheese to melt, using pre-grated cheese contains cellulose which prevents it from melting.
A lovely cheddar or gouda will work perfectly with this recipe. (I used Ladismith Gouda) I think a lovely smoked gouda will go lovely as well bringing in more smokey flavours. You can use a Gruyere which will add another level of extra depth to the soup if combined with cheddar or gouda. Don’t use extra sharp or very mature cheeses as it will not melt. You want your cheese melted.
For heavens sakes, use real cheese and not that plastic processed gunk you find at the store.
What Beer Can I Use?
You can use any beer you like to drink. Just keep in mind the more intense the beer the more intense and more bitter the soup will be. I would recommend a lighter colour beer like a pale larger, pale ale, or if you have to a light beer. Try to go for a beer that is more malt forward than hop forward. Hops will add more bitterness to the dish.
My beer of choice – Mountain Brewing Company: The Loadshed. This beer is primed with natural unfiltered fynbos honey, giving it a gentle honey aroma and creamy head. Laagered for 3 months to a crisp. I mean the name says it all as every South African knows where the “Loadshed” name comes from.
How much calories is a serving of the Beer and Gouda Soup?
Okay can I just make something VERY clear right now, while reading this. THIS SOUP IS NOT A HEALTHY SOUP! Finish and klaar!
This soup contains cheese, beer, and cream. Served with a good portion of good quality bread to soak up all the goodness.
So let’s NOT try and make this soup healthy by using low fat cheese, or skim milk or skipping out the cream okay or using a light beer only to save calories! It is not called comfort food for nothing and this soup is worth every last indulgent slurp! So throw those calorie counting out the window for today!
Is this Soup Safe for Pregnant Women and Children?
Absolutely! The beer gets boiled and simmered, meaning that the alcohol content gets cooked off. So make sure you do those steps properly if serving to under aged children and pregnant ladies.
What alternatives can I use if I don’t want to use beer?
You can use a non-alcoholic beer to keep those beer flavours coming through. Alternatively, you can use a high quality chicken stock, but then we are having just a plain cheese soup.
4 Professional tips in making this a restaurant star quality soup!
Add your cheese little by little and stir each time until the cheese has completely melted. Adding all the cheese at once will clump and you don’t want that. If you are by any chance worried that the cheese will clump you can toss the grated cheese with a little maizena.
Room temperature cheese will melt faster and better.
When adding your cheese, take it off the heat. The soup must not be boiling or bubbling. If you add your cheese to a boiling pot the cheese will curdle. Once the cheese is in – do not let it boil. This will cause your cheese to separate. After all cooking is still science!
Make sure you cook your roux, undercooked roux will make your soup grainy. Also make sure you use All Purpose Flour / Cake Flour you don’t want to use wholewheat flour, again this will make your soup grainy. You want a soup that is silky smooth and velvety.
Think wood fire baked crusty country loaf or a homemade German pretzel buns, or just think a delicious garlic toast or garlic cheese bread. Want to super impress your guest? Serve this soup in individual bread bowls.
The best part about this recipe is that you have been a given a basic outline, but it’s really fun to experiment and make it your own. So make it our way today and then tomorrow you can make it with your own unique twists. Here a few suggestions you can try:
Want it spicy? Use a whole jalapeño with seeds, or use birds eye chili.
Want it extra creamy? You can use cream cheese. There are so many flavours you can use to experiment with.
Want to add vegetables? Sure why not! You can add some potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli or courgettes.
Don’t want bacon? Spicy Chorizo, maybe German Sausages like Bratwurst, or smoked ham can work as well.
Garnish Ideas: Mini pretzels, or popcorn, or thyme, sliced pickled Jalapeno or a sprinkling of goats cheese.
The Loadshed Gouda Soup
- Dutch Oven
- Immersion Blender or Blender
- 60 ml butter
- 4 leeks cleaned and chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and diced
- 1 celery diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 60 ml all purpose flour
- 340 ml of lager or pale ale (The Loadshed Lager from Mountain Brewery)
- 1 liter of low sodium chicken broth
- good dash of Worcestershire sauce (Miss J.L. Halls Smokey Worcester Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon German mustard
- 250 ml full cream milk
- 250 ml cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 150 grams mature Ladismith cheddar grated
- 230 grams Ladismith Gouda grated
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Bushman's Smokey Jalapeño Hot Sauce
- 200 g smoked bacon rashers
- Cut the bacon into 2.5cm squares. Cook in a large dutch oven over medium-low heat, rotating occasionally. Remove and set aside once nice and crispy for the garnish. Leave about 2 Tablespoons of bacon "juice" in the pot. This will add flavour to your soup.
- In the same pot now add butter and allow for it to melt. Saute the leeks, carrots, celery, dried thyme, bay leaf until soft and lightly browned, roughly 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you want a little heat, you can add a chili to this mixture.
- Make sure the veggies don't burn. Now add the garlic, pepper and smoked paprika and cook until fragrant. Continue to stir constantly. You don't want this to stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Gradually sift the flour into the veggies, stirring constantly over medium heat, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the beer and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and let it gently simmer for 20 minutes until the the mirepoix is softened.
- Stir in the chicken broth. Using a spatula "clean" the bottom of the pot. You want all those flavours to work through the soup. Now add the Worcestershire sauce, German Mustard, and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow for it to simmer for 10 minutes.
- If using a hand heldblender you can now purée the soup until it is nice and smooth. Just remember to take it off the heat.
- If you don't have a handheld blender then remove the Dutch oven from the heat and allow the soup to cool down for about 5 minutes. Very carefully pour the hot liquid, into a blender. Cover with lid, but leave the center hole open to let steam escape. You don't want the mixture to explode due to the heat build up. As a safety precaution, cover the lid with an old towel and puree. Be careful the soup is hot and we don't want nasty accidents. Once the soup has all been pureed you can now pour the soup back into the Dutch oven.
- Turn the heat to a medium heat, and gradually whisk in the milk. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, so it can thicken a little.
- Once again remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Allow for a 2 to 5 minute cool down session. Gradually stir in the cheese until the cheese is melted and the soup is silky smooth. Stir in the cream (I used creme fraiche but you can also add cream cheese) Add a good dash of hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If you feel that there is something missing – add a good pinch of grated nutmeg. It does magic!
- Garnish with the bacon pieces, chives, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve steaming hot with crusty bread.