June 26, 2012
Stir Up the Soup!
Every once in a while a chef hits upon a dish that takes on a life of its own. A dish, be it soup, salad, entree or dessert, that orbits the kitchen without any effort on the part of the chef. That’s what I experienced with my Vermont Cheddar and Ale Soup.
This soup is perfect! Not too thick, not too thin, velvety smooth with no interior chunky garnishes (not that that would be bad!). Initially I thought it was almost too plain a soup to make such a big splash. Boy was I mistaken! In retrospect, what did I expect? After all, what’s not to like?
The recipe is very simple. Take a great, sharp Cheddar cheese combined with small amounts of stock, cream and a little bit of Samuel Adams finest to round out the nutty tang of the cheese. That’s it!
I would be totally remiss, and fail in my duty as a former Vermonter, if I didn’t say a word or two about how to pick Cheddar. Although most cheese is good cheese, not all Cheddars are created equal. Try to get hold of quality Cheddar such as Cabot Cheddar.
Lastly, if you happen to be in Vermont and come across Cheddar from Shelburne Farms (a small farm near Burlington), it’s worth the stop.
Vermont Cheddar and Ale Soup (NOTE: Do not to boil the soup once you’ve added the cheese. Otherwise the cheese will break).
- Carrots, diced 4 oz
- Onions, diced 4 oz
- Celery, diced 4 oz
- Mushrooms, diced 4 oz
- Garlic, minced 1oz
- Butter, 5 oz
- Flour, 5 oz
- Chicken Stock 1 gal
- Ale, full bodied 1cup
- Cheddar cheese 2 pounds
- Heavy Cream 2 Cups
- Mustard, dry 1 tsp
Tabasco, Worcestershire, Salt and Pepper to taste.
Sweat the vegetables in the butter until tender, add garlic to soften. Stir in flour to make a roux and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add half the cold stock, when it begins to thicken, add remaining stock. Simmer for about 30 minutes; add the beer, than the grated cheese, stirring well. Sample small slivers of cheese with the remaining beer (in order to ascertain quality!) while waiting for the cheese to melt. Lower heat and stir in just enough cream to adjust thickness of soup. Add seasonings to taste.