A Taste of Vermont in Illinois – Vermont Cheddar Ale Soup {Find it, Make it}

by Amanda on January 18, 2012

Hi. I love to search out new recipes and try new things. As I find them in magazines, on blogs, and various other places, I will make them and let you know how they turn out. I will also give you any tips to make it easier or offer suggestions on how I changed the recipe to better suit me and my family. Check back frequently for new recipe ideas.  Take a look at the other recipes in the {Find it, Make it} series or enjoy the other posts on Julie’s blog. – Amanda

I was in the mood for Vermont. The smells, the tastes….don’t get me started. I grew up in Vermont but haven’t been back in about 7 years. I have a trip planned on the horizon, but until then I needed a little fix. I started searching for a good soup recipe and came across the recipe for Vermont Cheddar Ale Soup from the Grafton Inn in Vermont. You can find it on a few sites, but I stumbled upon this recipe on the website Your Mileage May Vary.

This recipe takes a bit of time to come together and there are a few steps you can do ahead of time:

1. Get your garlic bulb roasted (about 30 min)
2. Caramelize your onion (20-30 min)
3. Grate your cheese while the above 2 are working.

For the cheese I used 2 blocks of Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar and 2 blocks of Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar. I could not find the Grafton cheese, but Cabot cheese is also made in Vermont and available at most grocery stores.

I also could not find the McNeills Ale. I substituted with New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Then I followed the recipe exactly. I especially enjoyed using the new immersion blender I received from Julie for Christmas. It was so easy and there was just one little piece to clean. No need to move everything over to the blender.

  • 1 garlic bulb, roasted
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped & caramelized
  • 1 red pepper, diced 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 shallots thinly chopped
  • 2 qt vegetable stock (64oz)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 pounds Grafton Cheddar, shredded (see above note)
  • 22 oz McNeill’s Firehouse Ale (see above note)
  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1. Saute shallots, peppers, and carrots until soft in 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter.
  2. Add bottle of beer and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Add caramelized onions, potatoes, stock and remaining butter.
  4. Simmer until potatoes are tender, then turn off flame.
  5. Add cream, roasted garlic and cheddar slowly with whisk.
  6. Puree in blender.
  7. Add salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chives and croutons.

Yields 1 gallon.

To go with this I cubed up some pumpernickel bread, sprayed with my new olive oil sprayer, and sprinkled a little salt. After about 10-15 min at 400 degrees I had some yummy croutons to top it.

This recipe makes a lot and I think it would be easy to make half the recipe. However, my family all loves it and we can have it a few nights in a row.

I definitely got my Vermont fix and it made the house smell really yummy. Thanks to Neil and Shaula for posting this recipe that I stumbled on.

From my searches to your dishes…Enjoy!!

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