Cheddar-Ale Soup with Bacon Fat Croutons & Candied Bacon
Soup, Stew and Chili's
4 1/2 cups for 6-8 first course servings
This Cheddar Ale Soup is perfect for when it starts to get colder outside. Made with rich, bacon-fat croutons and sweet candied bacon, you’ll want to make this recipe over and over again. It can be made for family dinners, holiday potlucks, or football tailgates – and pairs perfectly with a glass of wine or a hearty beer. Be sure to leave toppings – including the candied bacon, sliced green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese – out for guests to customize their soup bowls. This cheddar cheese soup is guaranteed to warm you up – just make sure you have enough to share!
This recipe makes 4 ½ cups, enough for 6-8 large servings. Start by making your bacon fat croutons, and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Place your bread cubes in a large bowl; while tossing, drizzle with warm bacon fat. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and toss again.
Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes or until golden. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To make your candied bacon, preheat your oven to 325ºF. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
Mix together brown sugar and black and red pepper in a small mixing bowl, and lay the bacon slices on a large plate. Lightly sprinkle both sides of each slice with some of the sugar mixture.
Arrange your bacon on a wire rack, leaving at least ½ inch between slices. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool. The sugar will harden slightly. Serve as whole or half slices, or cut into desired shapes.
Finally, to make your soup, melt your salted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft. Add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
Add the flour and stir until mixture becomes a paste; let cook, stirring often. When the roux starts to caramelize on the bottom of the pan, whisk in ale, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Whisk in whole milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain simmer; add Cabot’s Private Stock Cheddar cheese, stirring until melted. Whisk in your hot sauce and vinegar. Taste the soup, adding salt as needed.
For optimal texture, allow soup to cool to room temperature and blend in batches at high speed; pass through a fine strainer. Rewarm soup – but do not overheat – and serve garnished with croutons and candied bacon.
If you’re looking for other cheddar cheese soup recipes for a chilly night, try our Barstow’s Longview Farm’s Cheddar-Corn Chowder – a creamy soup that combines seasonal ingredients like corn and potatoes with Cabot’s sharp cheddar cheese flavors. Cabot is a co-operative of farm families and we work hard to produce our award-winning dairy products. We’d love to hear your feedback on this breakfast dish, so please rate and review it to share your opinion with others.
- ½ French bread baguette, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup rendered bacon fat, melted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 6 slices bacon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, finely ground
- ¼ teaspooon ground red pepper (cayenne)
3 tablespoons Cabot Salted Butter
- ¾ cup minced yellow onion (about ½ large onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 4 ounces local brown ale
- 3 cups whole milk
8 ounces Cabot Private Stock Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups) or a bag of Vermont Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco or similar vinegar-based hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Salt to taste
Bacon fat croutons:
To make croutons:
- PREHEAT oven to 375ºF.
- PLACE bread cubes in large bowl; while tossing, drizzle with warm bacon fat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again.
- ARRANGE in single layer on large baking sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes or until golden.
- Cool and store in airtight container until ready to use.
- To make candied bacon:
- PREHEAT oven to 325ºF. Place wire rack on rimmed baking sheet.
- MIX together brown sugar and black and red pepper in a small mixing bowl.
- LAY bacon slices on large plate; lightly sprinkle both sides of each slice with some of sugar mixture. Arrange bacon on wire rack, leaving at least ½ inch between slices. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and let cool (sugar will harden slightly). Serve as whole or half slices, or cut into desired shapes.
- To make soup:
- MELT butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft. Add garlic and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
- ADD flour and stir until mixture becomes a paste; let cook, stirring often.
- When roux starts to caramelize on bottom of pan, whisk in ale, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Whisk in whole milk and bring to a boil.
- REDUCE heat to maintain simmer; add cheese, stirring until melted.
- Whisk in hot sauce and vinegar. Taste, adding salt as needed.
For optimal texture, allow soup to cool to room temperature and blend in batches on high speed; pass through fine strainer. Rewarm soup (do not overheat) and serve garnished with croutons and candied bacon.
- per serving
- 25 grams
- Saturated Fat
- 13 grams
- 64 milligrams
- 1237 milligrams
- 45 grams
- 1.5 grams
- 17.5 grams
- 326 milligrams