By Scott Beveridge
WEBSTER, Pa. – It would be impossible to serve up the exact recipe for this most-excellent potato cheese soup because there were too many hands in this pot, and, in a good way.
But here is how in went down last Sunday.
Three great friends invited themselves over for dinner. I offered to cook the soup. They agreed to bring the beer.
To get it going, the onion and garlic were fried until translucent in some extra virgin olive oil (first and cold pressed) in a large pot on the stove.
The stock went in next and was brought to a boil.
Into the pot next went five or six medium sized Idaho potatoes, cut into cubes, after they were soaked a bit in a bowl filled with cold salted water.
Those potatoes were slow boiled until they began to disappear into the stock, while we tossed in some bacon, chopped celery and carrots along with some of the grated cheese.
At one point one of my friends added half of one my best 12 oz. bottles of India Pale Ale.
"Whoa. Whoa. Whoa," I said. "That's enough."
Really, he could have wasted some of the Yuengling.
Next we added the remaining potatoes, bacon, cream, cheese and spices until the soup tasted right to us, and continued to simmer the pot until the potatoes became nice and soft.
We also added some grated potato to thicken the soup and a whole lot off great memories along the way, paring them with a fantastic loaf of garlic and onion bread from Sunseri's in Pittsburgh's Strip District.
1 lb. thick sliced bacon, peppered, fried well and drained on paper towel
Enough Idaho and red potatoes to get it right.
1 - 32 oz. Emeril's chicken stock
1 - 32 oz. Emeril's vegetable stock
I large white onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 pint of half and half
1 - 8 oz. package of expensive, creamy sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Six or seven stalks of celery.
1/2 of one of those bags of slivered carrots stores sell
4 - Tbsp. butter
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Fresh grounded chili pepper corns, to taste
A big pinch of chopped parsley