Saturday, March 7, 2015

Irish Potato Soup with Cheese and Red Ale for Food n Flix

This month's movie, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara was chosen by Joanne of What's on the List.  I thought I had seen every John Wayne film there was but I had never even heard of this film.  That may be because it was made in 1952 and is not a western but more of a comedy/love story.

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The story begins with Sean Flaherty (John Wayne) arriving in his birthplace in Ireland from the USA. Upon arrival he is met by all the townspeople who fondly remember his family and Sean as a child.  It only takes moments for Sean to see Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara) and he is immediately smitten.  The townspeople warn him off of her because, as is evidenced by her red hair, Mary Kate has a mean temper.  That doesn't scare off Sean but unfortunately her brother takes an immediate disliking to Sean because he had hoped to buy the property that Sean came back to claim and purchase.  When he loses the property to Sean he exclaims "Sean Flaherty will regret this to his dying day, if he lives that long".

**Spoiler Alert:  I am about to give you a blow by blow of the whole film......

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Taking place in Ireland there was immediately references to potatoes, beer and whiskey.  The chemistry between Sean and Mary Kate is also immediate and they kiss before they ever even speak. The next scene has Mary Kate already talking marriage and making sure Sean knows what she has for a dowry.  Sean calls on Mary Kate during the dinner hour while Mary Kate's cranky brother is scarfing down his food.  Sean and Mary Kate are finally formally introduced and Sean asks for Mary Kate's hand in marriage.  He is refused and soon finds that in Ireland a woman may not marry without her father's (or in this case, older brother's) consent.

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The townspeople gather together to help Sean and Mary Kate's ill fated love and work to convince her brother that he would be happier and able to marry himself if he did not have Mary Kate living in his household.  He grudgingly gives permission for them to court, but they must be chaperoned. They see an opportunity and they make a break for it.  The chaperone pursues but only to the nearest pub where he gets distracted.

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The next thing you know Sean and Mary Kate are getting married and her brother proposes to the local widow who he thought was only ignoring him because she did not want to share the house with Mary Kate.  The widow, in no uncertain terms, turns Danaher (the brother) down and leaves.  The brother picks a fistfight with Sean and Sean flashes back to a boxing match in the USA in which he killed a man.  Sean refuses to fight and takes Mary Kate back to his home without her furnishings and dowry.  Mary Kate then refuses to have relations with Sean until he gets her dowry back.  She locks herself in the bedroom and Sean kicks the door, kisses her passionately and says...."There will be no locks and bolts between us, Mary Kate, except in your own mercenary little mind".  He then throws her on the bed and stomps into the parlor to sleep.

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The next morning the townsfolk bring Mary Kate all her belongings but they could not convince Danaher to give Mary Kate her money so she is still discontented.  When Sean plants roses, Mary Kate complains that he should be planting turnips and cabbages.  They go into town and run into Mary Kate's brother and she encourages Sean to approach him for her money.  Sean tries to explain that he doesn't care about the money but Mary Kate calls him a coward and leaves him stranded in town as she heads home.

Mary Kate comes across the priest who is fishing on the way home and decides it is a good time to make a confession.  The priest loses the "big one" he has been trying to catch for 10 years.  Sean gets angrier and angrier as he walks home and finally confronts Danaher.   Danaher again wants to fistfight but Sean again refuses and walks away as Danaher laughs at him.  Sean stops to see the Reverend who explains why Mary Kate's riches are so important to her.  The Reverend is the only person who knows about Sean's past.  Sean returns home and he and Mary Kate make up and finally consummate the marriage......I think it has been about 6 months since they got married at this point!!!

For some reason Mary Kate leaves him....I missed that part because I was still busy wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes from the last scene.  Sean goes to the train station and takes her back while all the townspeople celebrate and follow them across town as Sean literally drags Mary Kate along. One of the townspeople hands Sean "a good stick to beat the lovely lady".  Sean tips his hat and thanks her. They finally arrive at Danaher where Sean demands Mary Kate's money.  Sean throws Mary Kate back to Danaher and says that if there is no money he can take Mary Kate back.  Danaher gives Sean the money and he and Mary Kate burn it and begin to head towards home when Danaher again starts a fistfight.  The donnybrook to beat all donnybrooks begins with all of the townspeople joining in the melee.  Of course they have to have an intermission during which they all hit the pub for a pint and then the fight is on again until Sean and Danaher become fast friends and show up at home where Mary Kate had planned a romantic dinner that now became a family dinner....but they never show what she served LOL.

So there you have it.....Potatoes, Turnips, Cabbages, Beer and Alcohol.  Hmmmmm, I thought, the movie does take place in Ireland and it is March so I can always do an Irish Stew or Corned Beef and Cabbage, or Reubens....but then Tingting stood up and exclaimed...."That was the cheesiest movie ever!!!!" and Voila, I knew what I was going to make for this month's Food n Flix!

I decided to make for you Cheesy Irish Beer Soup.
  It contains Ale, Potatoes and is Very Cheesy, just like the movie.

Irish Potato Soup with Cheese and Red Ale
adapted from a recipe by Crescent Dragonwood as found on

4 T. butter, divided
1 large spanish onion, chopped
3 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
8 med. yukon gold potatoes, coarsely chopped
1 bottle Smithwick's premium Irish Ale
4 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
3 T. flour
4 c. milk (I used 2%)
7 oz. Kerrygold aged Cheddar Cheese, grated
6 slices thick bacon, crisped and crumbled
Blue Cheese (optional)

Melt 2 T. of butter in a stockpot over med heat.  Add onions, celery and leeks and cook for about 8-10 minutes until softened.  Add the potatoes, ale and chicken broth.  Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.

Melt remaining 2 T. of butter in a medium saucepan.  Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook for a few minutes until flour smell is gone, stirring constantly.  Gradually whisk in the milk until hot and thickened.  Add cheese and stir until melted.

Stir cheese mixture into the potato mixture until combined.  Warm over very low heat for 10 minutes not allowing the soup to boil.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with the bacon and blue cheese, if desired.  Print Recipe


  1. I just saw it yesterday. no words, will have to choose mine carefully for my post lol. But I do love your inspiration with this 'cheesy' soup ;-)

  2. I just watched it...again, apparently. Jake said, "we've watched this before." Obviously I wasn't paying attention the first time.

    1. LOL, I don't know how you could forget it.

    2. Because - most of the time - I am doing multiple things while watching a movie and this one didn't grab me enough for me to put down a book...I think I just listened to it.

    3. Been there done that....I always choose books over movies and if I watch a movie at home it is with the computer on my lap.

  3. Your soup looks delicious!!! Forgot to say that in my previous comment. Whoops.

  4. lol, well that's a fun and totally roundabout bit of inspiration for this post - love it. And this soup looks fantastic...I'm a sucker for anything that includes potatoes, cheese, bacon, and beer!

  5. Thanks Wendy for participating in this month's #foodnflix which I was proud being a debut host! Your soup looks delicious and everything always taste better with bacon eh?
    Sorry you missed the point of why I shared this film which is near and dear to my heart about St Patrick's Day film memories with my dad!
    Well done re the recipe!

    1. It wasn't until after this post that I read yours telling of the tradition you had with your father to watch this movie. Time with fathers is very special and I am glad that you are able to have such lovely memories. Thanks for hosting.

  6. Cheesiest movie ever! :O Perfect dish then. I love a good potato soup.

  7. This looks amazing, Wendy!!! ....And I kind of agree with Ting Ting! Perfect choice!

  8. Now that's thinking out of the box. Love it!

  9. Love it! It was definitely a very cheesy movie so your soup (which looks amazing by the way) is perfect for it. ;-)


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