Thursday, January 01, 2009

Rootsy, beery soup for a chilly day.

With the passing years, I become less beholden to the official recipe when cooking, and more improvisational. It hasn't been easy. I was taught to cook by my mother, a home economics teacher, and she was (and is) a "by the book" kind of cook.

Also, nowadays, I use beer in cooking at every opportunity. Never again will I follow instructions to use water. It will be beer, or beer and stock. Water is for wussies ... and Miller Lite drinkers.

Today's creation, mentioned here previously a few years back, will be consumed on Saturday night after a couple of days in the fridge. It's sauerkraut soup, derived from Polish and Hungarian influences, with navy beans and mushrooms. Use a big enough soup pot, and potatoes can be added, too, although I believe this time I'll be preparing a potato casserole as a side dish.

The secret ingredients are equal parts Schlenkerla Marzen and Weihenstephaner Korbinian Doppelbock. The finished product should be accompanied by bread for sopping and either of the beers, or something similar in terms of style. Emphatically, this isn't the time for weak-kneed golden beers ... and as much as I like wine, it's tough imagining a match.

While I'm thinking about it, here's a link to a piece I previously wrote about winter beer styles. The opening paragraphs provide context for Saturday's soup.

Three prime winter beer styles: Imperial Stout, Barley Wine, Doppelbock.

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