Winter’s coming – Cheddar Ale soup

20130921-112744.jpgAs the nights get longer and the days cool, hard cheeses come into their own, moving from the cheese board to star in dishes on the dinner table.

Parmesan from Italy, Cheddar from England, Spanish Manchego and the Swiss and French Alpine cheeses. These are the big boys of cheese. Their robust flavours, nutty and sweet or salty and crumbly, are strong enough to carry a whole dish.

So light the candles, draw the curtains and pour a glass, this soup is made to share with friends and family. Cheddar is the star of this soup so the better the cheese, the deeper the flavour.

Try these other recipes great for winter:
Parmesan custards and anchovy toasts
Silken and lush, set off with salty toast soldiers, this custard is a perfect lunch on a cold day or a starter before a simple main.
Calcio e Pepe – Pecorino and pepper pasta: Evey joint in Rome boasts of version of this classic. Simple and quick, yet fancy enough for a crowd. Don’t skimp on the pepper – it’s the star and shows the clever simplicity of Italian cuisine.
Cheese scones: These hearty cheese scones turn a soup into a feast. Slathered with butter, count on needing seconds.

20140525-163159.jpgCheddar Ale soup

Rich, hearty and warming, this cheesey soup is a meal in itself. Add a splash of dry sherry at the end – it zoups up any soup!
Serves 6 – 8

115 grams butter
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup diced red capsicum
1/3 cup diced green capsicum
1/3 cup diced yellow capsicum
1 cup flour
1 cup dark beer such as a dark ale or porter
3 cups chicken stock, heated
½ cup cream
450 grams sharp Cheddar, roughly grated, about 6 cups
Salt and freshly group pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry
Sliced spring onions for garnish (optional)
Chopped crispy bacon for garnish (optional)

Melt the butter in a stock pop over medium-low heat. Add the onions, then the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes until the onions soften and become translucent.

Add flour and whisk and stir vigourously until the mixture is well combined and starts to smell nutty, a couple of minutes.

Turn down the heat to low and slowly whisk in the beer, then the stock in haf cup increments, mixing each addition in well so it doesn’t become lumpy.

Add the cream and turn the heat up to bring the mixture up to a low boil. As soon as bubbles appear, turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. The soup should thicken and coat the back of a spoon.

Drop in the grated cheese in handfuls at a time making sure to mix each in well. Stir in the sherry, and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with spring onions and bacon. Serve with bread, extra cheese and cream. Serve with a dark ale or a Pinot Noir.

Note: be sure to hear this soup slowly to avoid it splitting.
This recipe is based on the one in Tenaya Darlington’s Di Brunno House of Cheese

5 thoughts on “Winter’s coming – Cheddar Ale soup

  1. We had this on Saturday night as the start of a formal dinner, a little crispy bacon plus a side of fennel slaw set this winter warmer off well. highly recommended.

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