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09.12.2014

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Amazing soup. I mean, there’s beer in it. How can it not be amazing? Thick and creamy (yes, there is cream in there too), cheesy (due to the lovely, slightly sweet kasseri cheese), aromatic (that’s the beer), and just salty enough thanks to some traditional cured pork.

The recipe for this soup is my contribution to a campaign by the Athenian Brewery, a large company that manufactures, well, beer. The campaign “12 Beers from Greece” aims to communicate the fact that 12 of their beers are now made entirely in Greece. By entirely I mean even the cultivation of the barley. In 2014 over 3,000 local producers provided nearly 90,000 tonnes of high quality barley, grown on over 58,000 acres of Greek land. Pretty good figures. So I decided that my recipe should also contain mainly local products. And I was certainly impressed with the result of their combination.

To start off with, our base is the potato. Since it’s a potato soup. Makes sense. I love potato soup, especially my mum’s leek and potato. But I digress. So yes, we start with potato and then add some pretty special ingredients. Like butter and Greek yogurt, cream, beer, kasseri cheese, and even some carob honey. Are you impressed yet? Apart from being really tasty, this soup is very easy to make too. Now I realize you might find it hard to get some of the products, like the traditional Greek butter made of half cow half sheep’s milk, or the slightly sweet kasseri, but it’s worth seeking them out if you can. Otherwise use regular butter and choose a yellow cheese that is fairly mild and sweet. The traditional cured pork is a little bit like smoked ham hock although the way I made it it’s just added as a garnish. If you cook the hock in the soup I think the result will be quite different, so I can’t suggest it. If you have a Greek deli nearby ask for cured (pasto) pork from Mani (which is what I used) or Crete.

As for the beer, I chose Amstel Premium Pilsener. As I mentioned it is made here in Greece, so feel free to use whichever beer you prefer if you can’t get hold of that. Just make sure it’s not too bitter!

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable stock, hot

6 potatoes, medium sized, cut into smallish pieces

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

30gr butter (I used traditional Greek butter, from 50% cow 50% sheep’s milk)

1 small can (330ml) beer (pilsener)

1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbs carob honey

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp coarse salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 1/2 cup kasseri cheese, grated, plus some to serve (the extra is optional)

cured pork from Mani, shredded, to serve

chives, chopped, to serve (optional)

Step 1

Bring the potatoes to a boil in the vegetable stock. Let them cook for about 20 minutes or until soft. Take the saucepan off the heat and blend the potatoes in the stock using a stick blender, so they become a smooth soup.

Step 2

Return the pot to a medium heat, add the butter and yogurt and stir well to incorporate. Five minutes later add the beer, cream, carob honey, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir well and after another 5 minutes add the cheese, bit by bit so it melts evenly, stirring until the soup is smooth and heated through.

Step 3

Serve hot, garnished with some extra cheese (if you want it), some shredded pork and some chives.

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The idea for this recipe came from the blog Cooking and Beer and the ingredients and method are mine. This post is sponsored by the Athenian Brewery. All opinions are my own.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    10/12/2014

    That is one gorgeous looking soup! And I love the styling, too!