This city is crazed with the Super Bowl. There’s a toboggan slide in Times Square and a pop-up NFL Shop in Macy’s. And yet the big game is in New Jersey, and in the middle of the empty Meadowlands to be more specific. While I will be watching on my couch, I have little inspiration for what to munch on during the game. The repairs have been made, but the political redtape still has me without gas for cooking. So in case wings don’t work fried on the induction burner or baked in the toaster oven, I had to think of something else.
This recipe for Ale & Cheddar Soup seemed like a good option. Make it thick for a dip and serve in a bread bowl or you can keep it as a more traditional soup. Choose a flavorful ale and play around with the cheeses to mix it up.
Bacon, Ale and Cheddar Soup
8 slices of bacon (or 4 oz of pancetta)
4 cups of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Vidalia onion
1 stalk of celery
2 jalapenos, thinly diced and seeded
1/2 tbsp of fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbsp of dijon mustard
1/2 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream
1 tsp of worcestershire sauce, if desired
2 tbsps of butter
2 tbsps of flour
1 bottle of ale
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf of sourdough bread
In a food processor, combine onions, celery and carrots so they are diced thin. (I tried it without the food processor, and it’s a chunkier soup, which I did not prefer with the cheese. If you want to try it the other way, cook the veggies for about 10 minutes instead of the 3 minutes noted below.)
If using bacon, cook until crisp and set aside, reserving 2 tbsps of fat for cooking. (You can either cook bacon in the saucepan or in a separate pan or microwave.)
In large saucepan over medium heat, saute it with the leek either in bacon fat or with pancetta for 4 minutes. (I like to cook with the pancetta and add bacon on top later.) Add onions, celery and carrot mixture. Saute for 3 minutes. Add 1 and 1/2 jalapenos for a little heat, garlic and thyme. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add butter until it melts. Then stir in flour until blended. Gradually add ale and then broth, stirring to mix thoroughly. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then stir in the mustard, cream and worcestershire. Gradually add in the cheese until melted through and smooth. Keep heat constant but do not let it boil (or cheese will separate).
Season with salt, pepper and a few dashes of cayenne to taste. Top with some crumbled bacon and jalapenos, if desired. Serve with the beer you used for cooking and a loaf of fresh bread, preferably a rosemary sourdough round if you can find it. Enjoy!