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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheddar-Ale Soup

I don't care too much for beer.  But I do love to cook with it.

I found this recipe in an ad from Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago.  And then I got an immersion blender for Christmas (trust me, I was extremely excited), and I knew my dream of eating this soup would come true.

You don't have to have an immersion blender.  I have let many a soup cool a bit, and then blended it in batches in the regular blender.  There's a fear of burning with the regular blender that I don't have with the immersion blender.

Celery, carrots and onion waiting to go into the soup pot.

Cheddar-Ale Soup
adapted from Williams-Sonoma

4 slices of thick-sliced bacon
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 large onion, diced (because Hub is an onion-hater; if you are normal, you could use a whole onion)
3 carrots, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced (I only had one clove, so I also added some garlic powder)
1/3 c. flour
1 c. pale ale (I used Boddington's because Hub has to drink the leftovers; it's the milkshake of beers)
1 tbsp. worcestershire
2 c. milk
2 c. chicken broth
1 1/4 lb. sharp cheddar, shredded
salt & pepper to taste

W-S also suggested toasted croutons and olive oil for garnish.  I did neither.

In 4-5 quart pot, fry bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Throw out all but 2 tbsp. of the bacon fat.  Over medium heat, add butter and melt.  Add onion, carrots and celery; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened (about 20 minutes).  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.  Add the ale and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan, for 2-3 minutes.  Add worcestershire, milk and broth.  Increase heat to medium-high and simmer.  Do not boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10-12 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and blend with immersion blender (or regular blender--please let it cool a bit first!) until smooth.
Over medium-low heat, add cheese by the handful, stirring constantly.  Do not boil!  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with crumbled bacon.

Soup, pre-blend.

Giant pile of cheese.

Finished soup.  Get in my belly!

Williams-Sonoma says this makes 6 servings.  We had it for lunch, and I would say it's more like 8 servings.  Well, unless everyone likes it as much as Hub and I did...  The Flour-Children mostly rejected this.  I think they don't like the beer taste.  Funny liked it, but she loves every soup I have ever given to her.  Silly also found it tolerable.  The boys...well, you'd think I'd given them something horrid.  Fools.  I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious this soup was.  I will definitely make it again, and just let those punky kids eat something else.  I hate to waste perfectly tasty soup on whiners.

That sounds a little harsh.  But I know all you parents out there know where I am coming from.

Beer + bacon + a mountain of cheese = LOVE.

Need more soup recipes?  Check out Finding Joy in My Kitchen.


  1. Sounds like a soup my husband would enjoy! Thanks for linking it up to the Countdown to 2011. Would you mind adding a link back to the party? Thanks!

  2. Looks good. I've not been one to make soup, but since my 14 year old son LOVES soup I got him a nice pot, a nice ladle and a copy of The Soup Bible for Christmas. We've had soup three nights since Christmas and they've all been great. I'm definitely a convert.


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