I went camping the other night, some friends, some bikes, some beer, and some delicious soup. It was a touch towards the fall-in-Colorado side of the weather, a bit cold, no need for puffy coats, but we weren't wearing flip-flops either. The first perfect soup night pf the year, and my pal Lance came through. It was full of veggies and beans and sweet potatoes. I enjoyed this soup to such a degree that a mere five nights later I recreated it at home (to the best of my available memory/culinary skill). Then I paired it with Ranger IPA (and even put some in the soup)... It was a perfect match, let me give you the recipe/directions and you can go home tonight and make it for dinner.
I went with things that I had in the house (luckily it's what I needed for the soup), some celery, carrots, onions, garlic, a standard mirepoix, with garlic (for those keeping track of my French cooking (language) cred). I sautéed them up in a little olive oil until the onions were translucent, then I added the sweet potatoes, some chopped fresh oregano and salt and pepper. I sautéed it a bit longer, then added the Ranger IPA, a whole can. It stewed up for about 30 minutes, and then I added wild rice and some more veggie stock to cook said rice. As the rice started to soften up, I put in a can of northern white beans and a can of kidney beans (drained, rinsed), some crushed red pepper and dried basil. I let it cook for about an hour. The soup really started to thicken up and get stew-y, so I knew it was about ready. Before I put it in a bowl, I toasted up some pine nuts, got the parmesan shredded, and chopped a bit more fresh oregano, all for toppers. I ladled up a serving into a bowl, dropped the oregano, parm and pine nuts to the top, and then cracked a fresh can of Ranger IPA for pairing. Marvelous.
This pair was great, the soup had a subtle spice from the red pepper and garlic, and the hops brought it out even more. It was a complimentary kind of thing, just perfect. The soup was also pretty rich, and the Ranger's dry finish has a palate cleansing quality, it wiped my tongue clean, post food-in-teeth-mashing. The Ranger has a touch of sweetness too. It's the malt coming to life, and the sweet potatoes favored that aspect of the beer, also very complimentary. This was a really a well rounded pair. The only thing missing was a nice, crusty bread. But I didn't have time to hit the store. Next time ( Probably tomorrow, there's about eight pounds of left-overs)..
There it is, an idea for dinner. And you should make this soup tonight, because it's awesome. Thanks to Lance for the details/inspiration.
And PS, without the cheese this is very vegan (you know, if you eat that way...).
Until next time,