This page is just the recipe for this luscious Irish soup, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s the full story behind it.
Recipe Note: this is very adaptable. You may use all leeks or all onions instead of a combination of the two; the potatoes may be peeled or unpeeled; and you may use a more readily available beer or ale. You may make it vegan (that link is for its recipe; and it is delicious that way, too). Or follow the recipe below to go the classic creamy cheese-rich route. Non-vegetarians may replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock, and add the optional garnish of crisp bacon crumbles.
In any case, this is a full meal when served with a spinach salad and whole grain toast or crisp baguette slices. For dessert, try my baked apples.
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 medium leeks, white and light green part only, slit lengthwise, de-rooted, very well washed, and sliced
3/4 cup sliced celery (about 3 stalks)
10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled or not as you prefer, and coarsely chopped
1 can (12-ounce) Irish red ale
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
7 ounces grated aged sharp cheddar cheese, preferably Irish
3/4 cup finely minced parsley (optional, but very good)
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese, preferably Irish (optional, but very good)
crisp, cooked bacon crumbled (optional)
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 6- to 8-quart stockpot. Add onion, leek and celery; cook over medium heat about 10 minutes.
- Add potatoes, ale, stock, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes. Mash a few of the potatoes against the pot, to thicken the soup slightly.
- Melt remaining butter in a medium saucepan; gradually add flour, whisking until smooth. Cook 3 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Slowly stir in milk, whisking until hot and thickened. If using cheddar cheese, add it now, and stir until melted.
- Combine the potato mixture and milk-and-cheese mixture until combined. Cook over very low heat 10 minutes.
- Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley, optional blue cheese and optional bacon, if desired.Makes 8 entree-sized servings (when accompanied by bread and salad).
For another Irish recipe, see my Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake. Here’s the link to the cake’s recipe-only page.