I think fine dining should be part of the community where it is, more than just for the people who are going to make a special occasion.
Probably not very classy, but some days a recipe change does work as with a bubbling hot French, or not, onion soup. Remove the Gruyère, use cheddar and guess what? Maybe a manly version of onion soup without the frou-frou…a fabulous hearty dish and served with a simple Caesar salad…better than eating out! So we will call it “Pub Fare”.
I have an old 2006 copy of Weekend Cooking that I love to pull out for some really good and easy recipes… I have been dying to make a version of Cheddar, beer onion soup, but nothing really struck me as what I really wanted until I remembered “Ricardo” mainly because of the cover photo, a simple mussels dish that I wish that I could make…mussels not so available around here. Anyway, guys will love this version of onion soup and the only thing that I change is that I bake it in the oven a la Jacques Pepin. Heat the oven to a 350º degree and simply bake the soup until hot and bubbly and beware it takes several minutes until you can really get into it as it is so hot. We poked around with a Caesar Salad from Ricardo as well while we waited to dive into the burn the roof of your mouth experience as well as the gooey cheese dripping and sticking to the spoon, certainly a playful bowl of soup. Loved it.
Fresh bay leaves offer a beautiful perfume and sweetness to the soup, the dried thyme was perfect and I did use 1/2 red and 1/2 white onions. I can’t seem to remember to order juniper berries and I’m not quite sure that my plant out front produces edible berries…
Beer and Cheddar Onion Soup adapted from Chef Ricardo
1/4 cup butter
4 red onions, sliced
4 white onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bottle Blue Moon beer
3 cups beef stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 small fresh bay leaves
*optional 1 juniper berry
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 slices toasted bread, the same diameter as the bowls
1 cup aged Cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
With the rack in the highest position, preheat the oven’s broiler.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add onions and soften over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the beer, broth, thyme, bay leaf, juniper berries, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning. Remove the bay leaf.
Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls. Cover with a piece of toast and sprinkle with cheese. Bake the soup for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Serve with Ricardo’s Caesar Salad with caper dressing.
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