Cheddar Ale Soup

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

Prep time: 20 min

Cooking time: 20 min

Extra-sharp Cheddar and malty English ale balance perfectly in this hearty soup.


  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (12-oz) bottle ale such as Bass or any malty ale will work-nothing too bitter
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably English; rind removed if necessary), grated (4 cups)
  • 4 bacon slices (3 1/2 oz total), cooked and crumbled


1.  Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leeks and drain in a colander.

2.  Cook leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, and bay leaf in butter in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add milk, broth, and beer in a stream, whisking, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper.

Vegetables Sautéing in Butter

Flour Added To Softened Vegetables

Liquids added to Vegetable Flour Mixture

Soup Thickening

Grated Cheddar

3.  Add cheese by handfuls, stirring constantly, and cook until cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes (do not boil-if the soup comes to a boil it will separate and not look creamy smooth, it will still taste good but will look a little curdled). Discard bay leaf.  You may need to season with some salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Serve sprinkled with bacon and some good crusty bread.


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