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.