Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cheesesteak and Ale Soup

This delicious fall soup combines the classic ingredients of a cheesesteak sandwich together in one comforting bowl.

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 Fall is my all time favorite time of year. With it, comes cool crisp air, leaves changing colors, college football (!!) and comfort food.

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My husband is a willing participant in the football and comfort food department, so when I suggested a cheesesteak sandwich with his favorite pale ale in the form of a soup for dinner, it took all of about two seconds for him to say he was in.

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The base of the soup is all of the usual soup veggies and a combination of sharp, melty cheeses with pumpkin ale, broth, and milk. 
To finish, I added in the components of a cheesesteak sandwich...thinly sliced steak, toasted bread, and pepperoncini peppers.

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The result was a rich, cheesy, beefy, flavor packed bowl of deliciousness.
Needless to say, we both scraped our bowls clean and basically had to hand-cuff ourselves to the couch to keep from going back for seconds.
It's a good thing the big game was on TV to distract us, or else I'm sure we would have!
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Cheesesteak and Ale Soup
Serves 6

5 Tbsp bacon grease (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrot sticks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Tobasco (or any hot-sauce)
1 cup pale ale (I used pumpkin ale)
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz provolone cheese, shredded
1/4 cup jarred sliced pepperoncini peppers
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 cups large diced bread cubes (I used ciabatta, but any type of bread will do)
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 pound thin sliced top sirloin steak, sliced into 1/2 inch slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, melt bacon grease and add onion, celery, and carrots. 

Sauté until softened, about 20 minutes, stirring vegetables frequently to make sure they don't begin to brown. Add salt, pepper, and garlic and sauté one more minute. 

Stir in the flour and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Add Worcestershire and Tobasco and stir. Stir in the ale and allow to cook for 3 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced. 
Stir in milk and broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables until mixture becomes a smooth puree. 
Return the heat to low and whisk in cheeses.

For the bread cubes:
Spread bread cubes in an even layer on a metal sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bread cubes are starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the beef:

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
Add beef to pan and cook for one minute on each side. Your meat will cook quick since it is thinly sliced, so watch it close. I left a little pink in the middle of mine.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve:
Ladle soup into bowls. Place some meat and bread cubes in the middle of the bowl. Top with sliced pepperoncini's and sprinkle with parsley.

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