Serves 4

Prep time 25 mins


75g butter
1 large onion diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced 70g plain flour 500ml chicken stock
500m1 brown ale (your choice, but the stronger the better)
100ml double cream
350g strong Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground
Black pepper


Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and potato and cook gently, stirring from time to time, until softened (but don’t let them take on any colour), around 10 – 15 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables in the pan and cook, stirring, for 1—2 minutes, then stir in the chicken stock. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the soup has thickened. Pour in the ale and heat gently for a further few minutes.

Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and then transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the cream and whiz until smooth.

Pass the soup through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and season with pepper and a little salt — do not add too much at this stage as the cheese will introduce extra saltiness later.

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, malt extract and cider vinegar in a small bowl until emulsified.

Warm the soup gently over a low heat and stir in the grated Cheddar, allowing it to melt. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle a little dressing on top of each one. Sprinkle on the diced apple and chives and serve immediately.