Welcome to Beer week!
Brought to you by....
Inside NanaBreads Head
Munching in the Mitten
From My Sweet Heart
Climbing Grier Mountain
La Petite Pancake
Wanna Be a Country Cleaver
Decadent Philistines Save the World
Hill Country Cook
Well actually Beer Week is now coming to an end... Though if you have been following along this week my friends and I have been sharing things all things beer. Everything from local watering holes, brewery reviews, recipes and even some tips on home brewing!
I have a confession.I am not a beer drinker. I know very little about it and to be frank. Beer is my least favorite adult beverage. Though I love to cook with it!
What I do enjoy?
I love the stuff as most of you know. A whole lot a lot!
Cider and beer are similar in that they both go through a fermentation process. Though unlike beer, cider's base is apples of course and not wheat. Making it gluten free. A great alternative to those with a gluten allergy. Cider does not always need yeast to be come "hard", because of the high sugar content it can ferment without the use of yeast. Though many cider makers do add some to speed up the process.
How is cider made?
First you start by running the apples though an apple press, which removes all of the juice from the fresh apples.
The juice then goes into a fermentation tank, where the magic starts to happen. With ciders makers such as Woodchuck Hard Cider, champagne yeast and other natural ingredients are added. The yeast eats away at the sugars which in turn forms the alcohol content and carbonation.
This is not s speedy process. Fermentation can take weeks!
After the fermentation it's time to filter it. Woodchuck uses a cold filtration process which creates a crisp cider. After the cider is filtered cider makers can add their own touches to create their craft cider by adding their little hearts desires of natural flavors.
If you have never tried a hard cider, I suggest you find one in your area. Some cideries I love are.... (in order of my favorites!)
Woodchuck Hard Cider made in Middlebury, VT
Magners Irish Cider
Angry Orchard Hard Cider
I've been a big fan of cooking with hard cider for years.
You have probably seen a million recipes right here on Bakeaholic Mama. I never get tired of using and pairing my favorite Woodchuck Hard Ciders with food.
Some of the recipes I've shared along the way are....
Woodchuck Hard Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches. Perfect crock pot meal, for a busy weeknight or a tail gate party!
Blueberry BBQ Cornish Game hens
Woodchuck Hard Cider Apple, Oat and White Chocolate Cookies. This recipes is unique in that you make a syrup out of cider before adding it to the cookie batter.
Now today..... My Sweet Potato Bisque made with Woodchuck Hard Cider.
I'm not an overly huge fan of sweet potatoes. So when I had my mind set on creating one I was a little nervous.
Though I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this bisque. It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory and a great way to utilize seasonal flavors. My husband who at first was skeptical as well. LOVED IT.
The base is made out of some hard cider and chicken stock. blended with apples, onions and sweet potatoes. It was also a great way to pull out my favorite kitchen tool.... the immersion blender. Though don't fret. If you don't own one... I will tell you how to improvise at the end of the recipe!!
Hard Cider Sweet Potato Bisque
2 large sweet potatoes
1 large yellow onion peeled and quartered
1 large apple peeled and cored
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbs of butter
4 cups chicken stock (Or vegetable)
1 bottle of Hard Cider (I used Woodchuck Hard Cider's Amber Cider)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs of maple syrup
1 cup of cream
Preheat oven to 400.
Pierce each potato with a fork. Place potatoes on a baking sheet bake for about 45 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a large pot add butter, apples, garlic and onions over medium heat. Saute until apples break down and onions are translucent.
Add in chicken stock, hard cider, cinnamon and maple syrup. Simmer on medium/low heat until potatoes are finished baking.
When potatoes are cooked and have cooled enough to handle. Slice open the top of the skins and scoop the sweet potato out with a spoon. Add potato into your pot.
With your immersion blender blend until smooth.
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix cream in just before serving.
Serve topped with croutons (optional)
*If you do not have an immersion blender. Well your in luck! Be sure to check back on my blog 10/14 for a KitchenAid giveaway! BUT until then.... you can pour your soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of your blender you may want to divide the soup into quarters. For a chunkier soup..... you can also a potato masher.