When it gets cold and damp during the winter months, I start craving soup like many others do. This is actually a relatively new thing for me, since I have never been a big soup eater, unless I am fighting some type of plague. And up until just a couple of years ago, all soup for me came out of a can. Well thankfully I have found that I can make soup myself, and it is stupid-easy and tastes awesome when done correctly.
This recipe came to me courtesy of a co-worker who brought this to my office as part of an international pot-luck lunch that we held. I actually went back for seconds on this and then had to ask for the recipe. The flavor of the sauerkraut is present but not overwhelming. The ham and sausage add good texture and additional savory/salty flavors. While I dont know if I will ever get to make this at home (The Man does not like beans), it sure would hit the spot on this cold rainy gloomy day before Christmas Eve.
- 1 48-ounce box of low sodium chicken stock. (there lots of sodium in everything else, so low sodium is the best)
- 21 ounces of jarred sauerkraut with juices. (I prefer Claussen or Hengstenberg)
- 2 cans cannellini beans (do not drain or rinse)
- 1 can navy beans (do not drain or rinse)
- 1 package of diced ham (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 package of kielbasa sausage - uncooked - cut into ¼" slices
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 whole Bay leaves
- 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
- Put all ingredients into a soup pot or crock pot. Stir together well.
- Cook for 3 hours. You want the beans to soften up and the onions to cook, everything else is already cooked.
- Remove bay leaves just prior to serving.
I am sorry to inform you that I do not like beer. Yes, I know. Go ahead and give me the funny looks and try to stifle your gasps. Really, I wish it wasn’t this way. For one thing, it would be a much cheaper night out if I could just swill a couple of beers to get a buzz. Also I wouldn’t feel so excluded from the cool kids club if I could knock back a few at a party. Kegs stands look fun, but I just could never do it knowing beer would be what was being shot into me.
I promise it’s not for lack of trying. I feel like I have tried and gagged on just about every brew out there. I’ve tried it from cans, bottles, kegs, even a beer funnel…no dice. It just tastes horrible to me. Bitter, sour, rotten water with a fizz. The one exception to this is lambic beers, but for those not familiar, these are dessert beers with sweet and fruity flavors that tend to be very heavy and filling. I think most mainstream beer drinkers would only call a lambic a beer by technical definition and only if someone was twisting their arm.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge my friends their enjoyment of the hops and barley beverages. I am envious to be honest. Whenever I host a party, I always think to get some beer to please the majority of those guests who like to imbibe. I just keep my bottle of Canadian whiskey discretely off to the side. Or if I am partying at their abode, bring the travel flask with my favorite brand of social lubricant.
Now, to the crux of this issue. I hosted a few gathering over to winter season and have some lingering liquid leftovers taking up space in my fridge. Since I have no inclination to drink these and my great-depression-era-survivor-instincts instilled in me by my family cringe at the thought of just pouring the innocent and still good beverages down the drain, I have been trying to figure out how to use these up in a non-offensive, and hopefully yummy way.
Here’s a list of a few recipes I’ve found, some of which I’ve tried, which all use beer as an ingredient. If you have any recipes using beer, please share. I really would like the space in my fridge back!
- Taco Pasta Toss – This is a great twist on an all-time favorite in our house. This is substitutes one carb for another, replacing the taco shells with pasta. The flavor of the beer really enhanced the spice combination, raising it up to a new level. You wont want to use that packet taco seasoning ever again.
- Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak – Another delicious favorite in our house. Great for the grill on a hot summer night. The citrus flavors combine in a delightful way with the tang of the beer.
- Irish Car Bomb Bread Pudding – Made by our friends over at Foodwhirl, I don’t think this decadent dessert would last long in any household…Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, whichever.
- Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops – I’ve tried a very similar recipe to this one, but with coffee instead of beer. I think these beer chops look absolutely mouth-watering. I will be testing these on our grill very soon!
- Fish and Chips – The classic beer batter on a fresh piece of fish with some perfectly cooked potatoes, it’s no mystery why this recipe has endured for hundreds of years. Bite into this and you can almost hear the gulls cry at the wharf’s edge.
- Beef Carbonnade – Beef and noodles is a staple in our house. Everyone loves this combination. Rather then just grab a box with that creepy glove puppet and add a little cheap ground round, why not try and whip up a batch from scratch. Plus, this version has BACON!
- Red Cabbage, Apples and Sausage Recipe – I found this recipe last fall during Applepalooza. It combines so many of my favorite things, how could it go wrong?