3.24.2006

Cheddar and Ale Soup

Every so often I get a hit on my blog because someone has been searching for the recipe for Grizzly Peak's Cheddar & Ale Soup. I used to live in Ypsilanti, Michigan (just east of Ann Arbor.) One of my favorite treats was going to Grizzly Peak Brewing in Ann Arbor and having a bowl of Cheddar & Ale soup. I have done a web search for that very recipe many times. Ever since moving away from Michigan, I have tried at least 20 different recipes to find a cheddar & ale soup that comes close to Grizzly Peak's. The other night, I found one. So for all of you that have been searching fruitlessly - getting close, but not quite there - I present:

The-Closest-that-I've-Ever-Gotten-to-Grizzly-Peak's-Cheddar & Ale Soup-Recipe:

Ingredients:
1 large white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 12-ounce bottles English Ale (we used New Castle - a better ale flavor)
2 tsp mustard (we used Dijon - a nicer spice)
1 cup heavy cream (we used whole milk because we didn't have cream)
12-16 ounces aged cheddar cheese (err on the heavy side - you can never have too much cheese)
2-3 shakes Tabasco
2-3 shakes Worcestershire
Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE:
In a large pot saute the sliced white onion and garlic in about 1/2 stick of butter. Cook the onions really slowly, for about 15 minutes, without browning them. Then sprinkle about 1/3 cup of flour onto them, stir it up and cook for about 5 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. This will help to thicken the soup later on. Then add the vegetable or chicken broth, ale and mustard. Turn the heat up and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. While that's happening, grate the cheddar cheese. After it's simmered for about 15-20 minutes, add 1 cup of heavy cream and the grated cheese, and let it cook until the cheese melts. Puree the soup using an electric hand blender, or puree it in batches in a food processor or blender. Be careful, the hot liquid expands as it purees. When the soup is totally smooth, add a couple of shakes of Tabasco and a couple of shakes of Worcestershire. Season it with salt and pepper to taste and it's ready to go. Serve it with some crunchy croutons and some chopped green onions on top if you like.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We've been trying to find this for years. Can't wait to try it out. Thanks!!!

Carla said...

This was a *wonderful* start! I made just a few mods, below, and found that I liked the results even better than GP's cheddar ale--which is saying a lot.

1 large white onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 stick butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups WATER with 2-3 vegetable bouillion cubes

2 12-ounce bottles BROWN ale

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1 cup heavy cream

1.5 blocks of Cracker Barrel Extra-Sharp cheese

2-3 shakes Tabasco

2-3 shakes Worcestershire

I followed the directions just as described in the original recipe. The only change is that I also strained the soup at the end to get that perfectly-smooth texture GP's cheddar ale has. I also turned up the heat and let it bubble and steam away for about an hour once I've pureed it, to intensify the flavor and thicken the soup. Unbelievably delicious. I've made this for my family twice now and they can't get enough! When I make it for them, I double all of the ingredients and it makes a pretty hearty pot of delicious. A sprinking of finely-chopped green onions on top of the soup in each bowl finishes the perfection.

Thanks so much for cracking the secret code and allowing all of us to experiment and enjoy!

~Carla Pfeffer

Anonymous said...

GREAT recipe...I suggest topping it off with those mustard-flavored pretzel nuggets!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for posting your recipe. I tried making it twice this past weekend. The first time I followed it very closely and it was good but did not have the same consitency of GP. The second time I tried something a little different. I used the full 2 lb block of velveeta for the cheese portion. The consitency was perfect and it tasted and looked almost exactly like GP. I think I would add another 2 lb block of velveeta if I did it again just to make even more cheesy. Oh yeah, I put some Thyme in there too. GP's menu says cheese ale and thyme. After tasting it both ways I am pretty sure GP is using Velveeta.