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Tuesday, October 19

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Recipe Fri Apr 05 2013

Soup'n'Bread: Chicago vs. Chicago

beer-cheese-soup.jpgThere's nothing like ending a chilly day with a steaming bowl of homemade soup and a hunk of bread to sop up all of the delicious goodness. It's even better when you can support a good cause.

On Wednesday, Gapers Block served up two soups at the Hideout's Soup & Bread, Chicago's hipster soup kitchen that benefits local nonprofits. The theme of the night was Chicago vs. Chicago and donations from the volunteer-run event went to Ravenswood Community Services.

Every single Windy City-themed soup -- from Deep Dish Pizza Soup to Italian Beef Soup (with homemade giardiniera) -- was a hit to the several dozen people who attended. Not to brag, but we exhausted our massive crock of Beer Cheese soup less than 30 minutes after the doors opened.

After many email threads between Drive-Thru staff, we whipped up soups representing Chicago's immigrants with beer influences: Polish Beer Cheese made with Josephs Brau PLZNR Czech-Style Lager beer (which was the closest we could get to Polish beer at the local liquor store the night we made soup) and Pork Pozole made with 5 Rabbit's 5 Vulture roasted ancho chile ale.

servingsoup.jpgWe used Chef Michael Nicsic's recipe for Zupa Piwna as our base.

4 T cornstarch
12 oz Stawski Beer
1-2 T Canola oil
½ cup sliced onion, quartered and sliced thin
½ cup sliced mushrooms
4 oz cream
½ T salt
1t dry mustard
½ t black pepper
¼ t nutmeg
12 oz yellow goat cheese (Colby or Cheddar cheese can be substituted) Shredded or crumbled loose in small pieces.
1-2 cups chicken broth (optional)

In a mixing bowl, separately mix the cornstarch with enough beer (3-4 oz) to loosen it into a sauce. In a 2 quart sauce pan: Sauté the onions and then the mushrooms in enough oil to prevent sticking for about 3-5 minutes or until tender. Add the remaining beer, cream, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and whip in the cornstarch slurry to thicken it. When it simmers again, whip in the cheese slowly and let it melt into the soup. Simmer & stir for several minutes. Thin with chicken broth if desired. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Pozole Borracho
3-4 ounces dried peppers (I used a mix of mulatto, guajillo and chile arbol. This is equivalent of about 6-7 larger peppers. The chile arbor are quite spicy, so I suggest only adding 1.)
8 cloves of garlic
3 lbs pork shoulder (or 1 pig head, or a trotter and 2 pounds of pork shoulder)
2-3 pounds of canned hominy, drained
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground marjoram (or 2 tablespoons oregano leaves)
1 bottle of 5 Rabbits 5 Vultures beer

Cut off the stems and remove the seeds from the dried peppers. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Place a skillet over medium heat and roast the peppers lightly on each side for a couple of minutes. They should soften slightly and be aromatic. Place them into the water with the garlic and let it boil for 15-20 minutes uncovered.

While it boils, place the meat cuts into the skillet and let them brown on each side. (If using a pig head, place it in a 400˚ oven and let it bake for 20-30 minutes.)

Once the peppers have softened and the water has turned red, turn off the heat and let it cool slightly. Once cool, place the peppers, garlic, and some of the water into a blender and puree until smooth.

Place the browned meat, pepper sauce, hominy, bay leaves, cumin, marjoram, and beer into a large stockpot. Add the rest of the liquid used to soak the peppers, and add more water, if necessary to cover the meat. Place the pan over medium low, cover it, and let it cook for 3-4 hours. (If using a pork head or trotters, let it cook for at least 5 hours). Stir frequently.

Once the meat has cooked through, remove it from the pan and let it cool to the touch. Slice the meat, and then cut the slices into 1/2" cubes. Return the meat to the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes, or until the meat is warm again. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Serve with hot sauce, limes, chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage, and tortillas or tortilla chips.

Photos by Clarisa Ramirez

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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