Make Ahead

Vermont Cheddar Cheese and Ale Soup

November 13, 2017
1 Ratings
Photo by Alexandra Stafford
  • Serves 12 to 15
Author Notes

This is a favorite family recipe adapted from the Bakery Lane Soup Bowl cookbook. Every holiday, my mother has a vat of this in her fridge, which makes for easy lunches. The original recipe calls for bacon or pancetta, so if you wish to do that, render the fat from 4 oz of your pork product of choice, transfer crisped pork to a plate, then sweat the vegetables in the rendered pork fat. When serving, sprinkle crisped pork over soup bowls. —Alexandra Stafford

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups diced onions, from 2 to 3 onion
  • 1 to 2 cups diced celery, from 4 to 5 stalks
  • 2 cups diced carrots, from 4 to 5 carrots
  • 2 cups diced red bell pepper, from 1 to 2 peppers
  • 2 cups diced, peeled red potato, from 4 to 5
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 6 cups water, vegetable stock or chicken stock, homemade is best
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 3.5 cups milk, 2% or whole
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese, about 1 lb.
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • Dash Worcestershire
  • Dash hot sauce
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • bread for serving
  1. In a large pot over high heat, heat the olive till it shimmers. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and peppers, immediately turn the heat down to medium or lower, season with a teaspoon of kosher salt, and sauté the vegetables until soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the mustard and thyme sprigs and stir until the vegetables are coated in the mustard. Add the potatoes, stock, another teaspoon of salt, and simmer until potato is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the beer.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pot until it just barely boils. In a large bowl, toss the cheese with the flour. Add this cheese-flour mixture to the hot milk and stir until the cheese has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly. Add the milk mixture to the other pot along with a few dashes hot sauce, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes stirring often — really scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, because the vegetable and cheese tend to fall to the bottom of the pot and stick. Taste. If you've used water or homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock that is only lightly seasoned, you may need to add several more teaspoons of kosher salt. Don't be afraid to add more hot sauce, too — the vinegar (as well as the heat) in the sauce adds a nice flavor.
  4. Serve with bread and more hot sauce on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jen Oatess
    Jen Oatess
  • Rosario
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • LinneaJC
I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.

6 Reviews

LinneaJC December 6, 2017
We made this on Sunday and have been enjoying it all week for lunches. I used Sam Adams Boston Lager for beer and it was perfect!
Alexandra S. December 6, 2017
So happy to hear this!
Jen O. November 16, 2017
Does this freeze well? I'm thinking of making a batch to have on hand for work lunches.
Alexandra S. November 16, 2017
Yes! I prefer to thaw it in the fridge, then reheat on the stovetop, but you can heat directly from the freezer if need be ... just do it slowly.
Rosario November 14, 2017
this looks delicious
Alexandra S. November 16, 2017