Saturday, June 5, 2010

And I digress...What's for dinner?

One day, many years ago, when Mr. Lovinangels and I were young, and broke, and hungry, I went into the kitchen to see about some food. I had exactly five things in my refrigerator- italian sausage, cheddar cheese, milk, potatoes, and beer.
Did someone say soup?

The recipe has morphed, time and time again, as we quickly learned never to be THAT broke, and that planning meals is a positive thing. This is the final product, the one I send to potlucks, etc.
I have to say, this is the one thing my family has asked for over and over. It's not a fussy recipe, either, as long as you follow the basic theory. Of course, you could do it without the sausage, or even the beer, but why would you want to?

4 tbsp butter or oil
1/2 C flour
1 capful of cajun seasoning.
1 lb bulk sausage, or remove sausage from casings.
half a bag of hash browns o' brian
1 quart of chicken broth
1 quart of water
1 bottle good quality dark beer (if you are insisting upon using light, please find a different recipe)
1 good couple of glugs of milk.
half a pound of nice, white, sharp cheddar, shredded.

Melt the butter or heat the oil in the soup pot, add sausage, breaking up with wooden spoon, until cooked. Add flour and continue stirring, until a blonde roux has formed around the sausage.

Shut off the heat if you have a gas stove, and pour in the beer, stirring constantly. Turn heat back on and stir, stir, stir, until the beer begins to thicken.
add the hash browns, seasoning, stock, and as much of the water as you need to just cover the hashbrowns, then pour in the milk, just enough to color it creamy. Continue stirring until it's nice and thick, and taste. Season with salt and pepper and lower heat, to a nice simmer. Now, begin adding the cheese, slowly, one handful at a time, allowing each handful to melt almost completely before adding the next. Taste after the third handful, and adjust seasonings. You can add all the cheese or a portion, and then let it set for a couple of minutes so you don't burn the roof of your mouth off.
Serve with more shredded cheese to pass.

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