You could enjoy a bowl of our rich hearty Cheesy Grits-and-Ale Soup with a piece of crusty bread and be perfectly happy, but the Garlicky Pumpernickel Croutons are a delicious match for the dish and take just 20 minutes to make. The bread, which is typically made with pumpernickel (or rye) flour, has a slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with the tangy soup. And the dark color contrasts with the creamy orange soup beautifully. To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 400°F. Microwave butter and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH until the butter is melted and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Spread torn pumpernickel croutons in an even layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with the butter mixture, and toss to coat. Bake in the preheated oven until toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm, or cool completely. These Garlicky Pumpernickel Croutons are great tossed onto a salad, but are made for our Southern twist on beer-cheese soup. Some beer-cheese soups taste more like one ingredient or the other, but we like the balance of extra-sharp Cheddar cheese with a brown ale such as Newcastle, Bass Ale, or Sierra Nevada. The tangy cheese isn’t overpowered by the hoppy beer, and vice versa. If you're going to make these croutons, we suggest you also make Cheesy Grits-and-Ale Soup. It can be made one day ahead and tastes even better the next day. Reheat before serving, stirring often, over medium low heat.
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large minced garlic clove
3 cups torn pumpernickel bread
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°F. Microwave 2 Tbsp. salted butter and 1 large minced garlic clove in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH until butter is melted, about 30 seconds.
Spread 3 cups torn pumpernickel bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with butter mixture; toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.