This is a favorite family recipe adapted from the Bakery Lane Soup Bowl cookbook. Every holiday, my mother has a vat of this in her fridge, which makes for easy lunches. The original recipe calls for bacon or pancetta, so if you wish to do that, render the fat from 4 oz of your pork product of choice, transfer crisped pork to a plate, then sweat the vegetables in the rendered pork fat. When serving, sprinkle crisped pork over soup bowls. —Alexandra Stafford
12 to 15
2 to 3 cups
diced onions, from 2 to 3 onion
1 to 2 cups
diced celery, from 4 to 5 stalks
diced carrots, from 4 to 5 carrots
diced red bell pepper, from 1 to 2 peppers
diced, peeled red potato, from 4 to 5
kosher salt, plus more to taste
a few sprigs of thyme
water, vegetable stock or chicken stock, homemade is best
In a large pot over high heat, heat the olive till it shimmers. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and peppers, immediately turn the heat down to medium or lower, season with a teaspoon of kosher salt, and sauté the vegetables until soft, about 15 minutes.
Add the mustard and thyme sprigs and stir until the vegetables are coated in the mustard. Add the potatoes, stock, another teaspoon of salt, and simmer until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the beer.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pot until it just barely boils. In a large bowl, toss the cheese with the flour. Add this cheese-flour mixture to the hot milk and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly. Add the milk mixture to the other pot along with a few dashes hot sauce, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes stirring often — really scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, because the vegetable and cheese tend to fall to the bottom of the pot and stick. Taste. If you've used water or homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock that is only lightly seasoned, you may need to add several more teaspoons of kosher salt. Don't be afraid to add more hot sauce, too — the vinegar (as well as the heat) in the sauce adds a nice flavor.