The day's events at I.C.E.
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza with Pepperoni and Sausage
Beer Poached Bratwurst and German Potato Salad
Cincinnati Chili Five Ways, Beer and Cheddar Soup, Wisconsin Fish Fry with Cole Slaw and homemade tartar sauce, Miller High Life Beer
Last week it seemed that all of the United States had snow in the forecast! The Institute of Culinary Education (I.C.E.) here in New York City had the right idea when they decided to create a series called "American Comfort Foods" for their winter semester in the recreational class division.
Yesterday evening a friend and I had the pleasure of taking "Comfort Food from the Heartland" with Chef Daniel Stone, who grew up in the Midwest and is an expert on the cuisine. He talked a great deal about the culinary history of the region, and it was inspiring enough for me to want to visit all the cities he spoke of one day and eat my way through them.
The dishes we made yesterday were amazing and not at all difficult to make even on a cold winter weeknight. Here is the menu of all the delectable foods we made: Cheddar Cheese Beer Soup, Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, Cincinnati Chili Five Ways, Friday Night Beer-Batter Fish Fry, Tartar Sauce, Harry's Mom's Cole Slaw, Wisconsin Beer-Poached Grilled Bratwurst, Brat Mustard, German Potato Salad, Michigan Tart Cherry Pie, Ohio Buckeyes, and a Brandy Old Fashioned Cocktail.
In good conscience I cannot reprint the buckeyes recipe. They are basically the chocolate and peanut butter version of crack if chocolate and peanut butter were crack. I am, however, reprinting the soup recipe! It was not all that heavy and would be a meal on its own with some crusty bread and a salad on the side.
Cheddar Cheese Beer Soup (courtesy of Chef Daniel Stone)
2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) bottle of ale, such as Bass
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound extra sharp cheddar, preferably English, rind removed
4 slices bacon, roasted in the oven and crumbled
1. Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and spin dry in salad spinner.
2. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper. Adjust season to taste.
3. Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly. Cook until cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes. *do not boil* Discard bay leaf
4. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish each serving with crumbled bacon.