Goodbye August, Hello September!
For the record, I am part of #TeamFall and always have been, long before Pumpkin Spice Lattes and chunky cable knit sweaters were in style. As a kid, September meant going back to school, fall camping and hunting season with my dad. As an adult it now means raking the lawn nonstop but also the ability to simmer a hearty soup on the stove without racking up the A/C bill. Ah, adulthood!
The first soup of the season came to me on a whim. As usual, I couldn’t decide what I wanted. Did I want my tried-and-true ham and potato soup? Or did I want to push the boundaries and try something new? Always up for a challenge I came-up with this hearty and filling soup. Cheddar Ale Soup with Ham and Potato is unapologetically indulgent (and that’s OK). Featuring a strong, sharp cheddar, hearty amber ale and salty ham, this soup is not for a light eater. However, there are *some* carrots and celery. It’s all about balance, right?
As a huge supporter of supporting local, I chose to concoct my soup with my favourite local beer; Bulldog Amber Ale. Brewed by Half Pints Brewing Co. in Winnipeg, this easy drinking ale is a great introduction to more fuller bodied and malty beers. It is quite similar to a strong English ale, which lends itself well to this thick, potato based soup. If you can’t get your hands on this brew, stick to your favourite ale. Remember, just like wine, never cook with a beer you wouldn’t enjoy drinking.
Cheddar Ale Soup with Ham and Potato
- 3/4 cup chopped ham (from ham steak or other)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium red potatoes, peeled & chopped in small, bite size pieces
- 2 stalks celery, copped
- 1 carrot, peeled & chopped
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bottle (341 ml) Half Pints Bulldog Amber Ale, or similar ale
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups extra old cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup half & half cream
- Brown ham in large pot or Dutch oven. Do not drain drippings. Remove cooked ham from pot and set side.
- Add chopped onions, potatoes, celery and carrot to pot. Cook in ham drippings until onions are brown and carrots are soft. Remove half of veggie mixture and set aside, along with the ham.
- Add vegetable broth and beer. Add spices and gently simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are of medium softness.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup to a thick puree.
- Add cheese and stir until fully melted.
- Add the ham and vegetables that were set aside and simmer for 15 minutes or until remaining potato pieces are of medium softness.
- Add cream and heat throughout, careful not to boil.
- Serve immediately. Serves well with dark rye bread and your favourite cold one!
*Please note this recipe does not contain sponsored content. Half Pints Brewing Co. is simply my personal recommendation*