It's Cheesefare week in the Orthodox church once again. That's one of the weeks in preparation for Lent to begin (next Monday) where we have already said goodbye to meat on Sunday (though in this household we said goodbye long ago) and we focus on getting our fill of cheese, milk, eggs, and other goodies that we will not be partaking of during Lent.
I posted this recipe last year on my regular blog, and as I was preparing to make it this week I thought I'd post it again here. It is one of our favorites--all of us except Hibi, who never liked it anyway!
This recipe is one of our traditional Cheese Fare week's recipes. I now use a recipe for bread dough from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, an all whole wheat bread (I recommend the Buttermilk Bread recipe), and just use about a half a loaf's worth for each bread bowl. Shape into a tight round and place on a greased cookie sheet to rise and bake. After it's baked and cooled, cut off the top and scoop out the inside, being careful not to get too close to the outside wall. But you can, if you wish, use white bread dough, even the store-bought kind. We all think the whole wheat bread stands up nicely to the strong cheesy/beery flavor of the soup.
Here's the soup recipe:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup beer
2 teaspoons worchestershire sauce (a vegetarian version is available at natural foods stores)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute vegetables until tender. Add flour, stirring constantly until flour is no longer raw. Reduce heat; stir in beer, worchestershire sauce, salt, mustard, and tabasco. Simmer 10 minutes. Add cheddar and parmesan cheese and stir until melted; do not boil. Ladle into bread bowls and serve.