Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Irish Beer, Cheese and Potato Soup, Apple Maple Salad, and Chocolate Toffee Pudding Pie

There's nothing more welcoming than a big pot of hearty soup simmering away on the stove. We're still a few weeks away from St. Patrick's Day, but why not celebrate early with some Irish Beer, Cheese and Potato Soup? I chose this recipe because it is made with a broth and cream base, allowing it be rich but not too heavy. The texture is thick yet silky, perfect for dipping soft pretzel bread. Alongside I made a delicious Apple Maple Salad with butter lettuce and Belgian endive in a maple syrup vinaigrette and topped with sliced apples and blue cheese. It was a perfect light and tasty accompaniment to the hearty soup. And for dessert one of my favorite easy sweet treats, Chocolate Toffee Pudding Pie, complete with cool whip and an Oreo crust. (Hey, I'm not a baker, so I cut all the corners I can!)

Fun fact- this recipe was later published on an Irish beer brewery's website! Check it out- http://www.slbc.ie/food/recipe/irish_beer_cheese_and_potato_soup/.

Irish Beer, Cheese and Potato Soup with soft pretzel bread

Irish Beer, Cheese and Potato Soup
Make anyone feel welcome with this amazing hearty soup! 
Serves 8

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 chopped yellow onions
¾ cup chopped celery
8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, coarsely chopped (or 3-4 russet potatoes)
1 (12-ounce) bottle Irish red ale or other flavorful beer
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups whole or 2% low-fat milk
4 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
4 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

3/4 cup finely minced parsley
Crisp cooked bacon crumbled

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 6- to 8-quart stockpot. Add onion and celery; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
2. Add potatoes, ale, stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender about 45 minutes.
3. Melt remaining butter in a medium saucepan; gradually add flour, whisking until smooth. Cook 3 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in milk, whisking until hot and thickened. Add cheese, stir until melted.
4. Stir cheese mixture into potato mixture until combined. Cook over very low heat for 10 minutes.
5. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley and bacon. Serve with pretzel bread or soft baguette.

Recipe adapted from Relish

Apple Maple Salad with blue cheese

Apple Maple Salad
Fresh lettuces, sweet apples and tangy blue cheese shine in a maple vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 head butter lettuce, shredded
2 Belgium endives, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 apple, thinly sliced
Crumbled blue cheese

Place ingredients in large bowl. 

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add dressing ingredients and small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over salad and toss to thoroughly combine.

Chocolate Turtle Pudding Pie
Fluffy, creamy and light, always a crowd pleaser!
Serves 6

2 cups cold milk
2 pkg.  (3.9 oz.) Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
3 squares Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1   Oreo Pie Crust
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
2   milk chocolate English toffee candy bars (1.4 oz. each), chopped, divided 
Beat milk and pudding mixes with whisk 2 min. Microwave 2 chocolate squares on high 1 min. or until melted when stirred. Stir in 1 cup pudding; pour into crust.

Add half the whipped cream and all but 3 Tbsp. candy to remaining pudding. Spoon over layer in crust.

Top with remaining  whipped cream and candy. Melt remaining chocolate square; drizzle over pie. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Recipe courtesy of Kraft


  1. Wow! What are the nice recipes shared. The pics are really mouth watering. I will try the Apple Maple Salad at weekend. Thanks for share and keep it up.
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  2. Best soup on the planet, well...after my French onion soup!!!! Made it 3 times so far, but I added carrots...gives a bit of color....super recipe!