Last week, Rachel posted a recipe for something that combines two of my greatest loves: beer and bread. The only thing I love more than ripping into a deliciously carby loaf of bread and feeling the goodness sticking to my teeth is opening my mouth wide to feel the carbonated carbaliciousness (that’s a word now, didn’t you hear?) slide down my throat. Mmmm…
Wait, what were we talking about?
Oh yes, beer bread.
I saw this recipe one of the first times she posted it…maybe Christmas, I think? And I’ve been meaning to whip it out ever since. I’d been craving some warm soup lately, especially since I had all these lentils to play around with, so I decided to see what I could come up with. (Rachel’s post features a broccoli and cheddar soup that I’m sure is fabulous, but I don’t really do Velveeta.)
For the soup, I decided make a sort of stew with roasted carrots (what little I had left) and sweet potatoes. For my bread, I had a lone bottle of Harpoon Octoberfest sleeping in my fridge that I decided to put to good use.
First up, I chopped up my sweet potatoes and carrots, knowing they’d take longer. (Preheated the oven to about 400 or so.) I sprayed down a sheet covered with aluminum foil, then gave the veggies a spritz after spreading them out, and then sprinkled on some rosemary and s&p and popped them into the oven.
I chopped up about 3 short celery sticks and a quarter of a white onion.
On the stove, in a large dutch oven, I melted some Smart Balance. Probably about a tablespoon. Once it began to heat up, I sauteed the chopped onion and celery and garlic, along with some coriander and cumin (about 1/2 tsp each) and a dash of cayenne pepper.
When they were sufficiently cooked through, I added about 2 cups of broth and 3 cups of water. I threw a few other spices into the mix, including some sage. Once that got up to a boil, I added approximately 8 ounces of lentils, turning the heat down slightly and leaving the pot lid cracked. Soon it was time to remove the veggies, and I turned the oven down slightly to get it ready for the bread.
The bread is as simple as it gets: flour, beer, sugar, baking powder, salt. I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and one cup of bread flour, and I also used kosher salt. Step one: Mix it all together.
I used two smaller loaf pans because I knew I would eat the hound out of the stuff. I lined one with foil (the method I now recommend) and spray each down with my Misto. I divided the dough in half for each of the loaf pans and baked for about 40 minutes.
When there was about ten minutes left on the bread, I added the roasted vegetables to the pot. After taking the bread out, let in cool 10 minutes in the pan and 10 out.
This. Was. Epic.
The bread was just salty enough and moist from the beer. The flavor was perfection, and it completed the heart lentil stew/soup really well.
What’s your favorite hearty soup or stew? This was good, but I’m a little partial to chili and real tomato soup. My new soup venture will be carrot soup. I had some from Urban Standard that was ah-maze-ing, and I want to attempt to recreate it.