For many years, Irish immigrant Agnes Devereux was chef and owner of the Village Tea Room in New Paltz, which specialized in traditional hearty European dishes made with wholesome, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients (the cozy farmhouse location is now Runa Bistro). Born to innkeepers in the Irish countryside, Devereux literally grew up in the hospitality industry. We couldn't think of a better person to suggest a less conventional Irish dish to cook this Saint Patrick's Day. Devereux's suggestion? Cheddar cheese brown ale soup. Basically, beer soup. This rich dish will keep your warm and satisfied as we hold on until the spring thaw.
Cheddar Ale Soup
- 2 Fat leeks, white & pale green parts only, cut into ¼’ dice (2 cups)
- 2 Medium Carrots cut into ¼” dice (1 cup)
- 2 Celery stalks cut into ¼” dice (1 cup)
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced on a Microplane
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ stick butter
- ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 cups whole Ronnybrook creamline milk
- 1 ¾ cups Chicken stock
- 1 bottle (12 oz) Brooklyn Brown Ale
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Colman’s English Dry Mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 lb extra sharp Cheddar (Cabot or Kerrygold) grated
- Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water checking that they are free of all grit, then cut into ¼’ dice.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot and add leeks, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaf.
- Cook on moderate to low heat for twenty minutes.
- Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for three to four minutes.
- Add milk, stock and beer whisking continuously. Cook a further 15 minutes – add Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Stirring constantly add cheese in handfuls. Cook until cheese is melted – do not boil.
- Remove bay leaf and serve.