I wouldn’t say that I lead a sheltered life as a young child but I was a fully grown adult before I had the luxury of eating soup from a bowl made out of bread. I was living in Boston back in 2004 and working hard for John Kerry and sharing a huge coastal house with a bunch of college grads. We decided to go to New Hampshire to look around and check out the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. After indulging the guys in endless hours and thousands of bullets at a gun range we were in search of nourishment.
Since none of us were from the Northeast we were all New Hampshire virgins but we stopped at this really great seafood restaurant on the water. In addition to having some of the bluest water I’d ever seen at the time, this place made a killer lobster bisque in a delicious sourdough bread bowl. Maybe it was the booze, or maybe it was the MJ but I ate nearly every inch of that bowl except the über soggy bottom section.
So after watching John Kerry talk about Syria and reconnecting with some of my own campaign buddies on the evil necessity with the initials FB I was nostalgic for…a bread bowl. I would’ve loved to make bisque but it isn’t my strong suit yet so I’m still working up to it.
But I found some really nice salmon filets and some amazing rye bread that would make the perfect bowls. That gave me the idea for this recipe, well those bowls and my husband because he is a soup fanatic.
I used a dark beer in the broth; my favorite here in Germany is Köstritzer. It isn’t quite as thick as Guinness but it is equally nutty and chocolaty and earthy and I really love it. I wanted that bitter beer taste so I used 2/3 of the bottle and tipped the rest to my kisser.
It’s important that when you cut the cap off the bread bowl that you pull out some of the extra padding on the inside. If not you’ll have soggy clumps of bread floating in your soup. If you’re fine with that go for it, but I like to have a lot of soup in my bowl.
I guess technically this is more of a stew because the broth is thicker but let’s just call it a soup to make thing easy.
Makes 2 bread bowls or 4 regular bowls of soup.
2 bread bowls, capped & gutted
1 large onion, sliced
1 carrot, grated
8 oz. salmon fillets, diced
1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms
2/3 bottle dark beer
2 cups water, broth
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. flour
10 medium shrimp
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. olive oil
- Grab your biggest and baddest soup pot and turn the heat on medium high.
- Add olive oil until it begins to shimmer and add mushrooms and cook 7 minutes.
- Stir in onions and season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add grated carrot and garlic to the pot and cook for 4 minutes or until garlic begins to brown.
- Add butter to pot until it is melted, then sift in flour. Stir constantly until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in beer and then broth, stirring frequently until a thick gravy begins to form. Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add more or less liquid for thicker or thinner broth.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 F and warm up bread bowls for about 5 minutes then set on plates.
- Add salmon and shrimp to broth and cook 3 to 5 minutes before pouring into bread bowls.
If you want more flavor in your soup simmer for longer before adding seafood.
If you can’t find any bread bowls, toast a baguette with herbs and oil.