What Is Cheddar Ale Soup?
Also known as cheddar beer soup, cheddar ale soup is a creamy yet hearty warm soup that makes a perfect winter meal. The soup is made from cheddar cheese, ale or any other type of beer preferred, and milk or cream. Various spices and vegetables may also be included depending upon the recipe.
Cheddar ale soup is a favorite dish from New England, though it can be found widely across the United States. A malty ale is suggested for the best flavor. Any cheddar cheese should work in the soup, though a full-flavored cheddar cheese that has been allowed to flavor for a full year or more is generally considered best.
In addition to milk or cream, other wet ingredients are usually needed. Chicken broth is one of the most common ingredients. Low-sodium chicken broth may also be used for healthier recipes. Cooking oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, may be called for. Water is usually added to the smooth, cheesy soup as well.
Other ingredients in the soup might include butter, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Various herbs and spices, such as bay leaves, may be called for. Garlic is usually included in the soup, too. Various restaurants may include their own spicy spins on the recipe, such as adding cayenne pepper for heat, or a smoked cheddar cheese for another layer of flavor.
Most cheddar ale soup recipes include vegetables, too. Any root or readily available fall favorite vegetables can be used in the soup. Traditional ingredients, however, include carrots, onions, and celery. Scallions may also be added. Potatoes can add an even heartier element to the soup if desired.
All vegetables should be cleaned well prior to be used in cheddar ale soup. Most soups call for dicing the vegetables into small cubes, though some cooks prefer larger chunks of potato in their soup. Many recipes advise that the vegetables be cooked well prior to creating the rest of the soup. This will ensure tender, softer elements that will help create a richer soup.
Meat is typically not included in this soup. Bacon, however, may be cooked within some recipes. If used, real, fresh bacon is recommended rather than imitation bacon pieces to ensure the best taste. A complete bowl of cheddar ale soup may be garnished with bacon, scallions, or any other spice preferred. Sour cream is another favorite garnish, as are croutons or crackers.
I like to eat cheddar ale soup with a big hunk of crusty white bread. When you dunk the bread in the soup the soup soaks into the dry bread and softens the crust. Taking a bite of it is like eating a gooey, hearty cheesy miracle.
I would like to make cheddar ale soup but I am not quite sure which ale would be the best for the soup. When I am drinking beer I like something very light, a pale ale or a wheat beer. But maybe this would just get lost under the cheddar flavor. Maybe I should use something darker or with more of a hoppy flavor. Has anyone made a lot of this kind of soup before? What ale do you use?
I absolutely love cheddar ale soup. As a matter of fact, I probably like it too much. If you put me in front of a pot of it I could probably eat the whole thing and want more. It has not been so good on my waistline, that cheddar ale soup.
But I try to limit myself to one bowl of it a month. I usually wait for a night when it is cold or raining out and I go to a pub around the corner from me that makes a great version. I get a pint and a big bowl and smile a huge smile. This is the definition of comfort food.
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