Hooray for soup season! Add soup to the growing list of things I’m appreciating more as I march through my forties. It’s right up there with slippers, Lawrence Welk reruns, cardigans, and butterscotch candies. I’m sure Bingo is just around the corner for me.
As soon as I saw this come across my Facebook feed, I knew it was a winner. Onions + Beer + Cheese + Croutons? Sign me up! All I needed was a day off from work and a little cool weather, and I was ready to pounce. This recipe is almost too easy. While the onions are a tad time consuming since you cook the hell out of them, the rest of it almost feels like cheating. But I am not complaining! This soup has a surprisingly sweet and layered complexity of a recipe that requires much more effort. Definitely a fun twist on traditional French onion soup.
Fine Cooking’s Onion and Ale Soup with Blue Cheese Croutons
by Maryellen Driscoll, original recipe here
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 lb. yellow onions (about 3 medium), halved through the root and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup pale ale, such as Saranac or Sierra Nevada
2-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1-1/2 cups lower-salt beef broth
7 oz. sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (5 cups)
4-1/2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the onions and reduce the heat to medium. Cook without stirring until the bottom of the pot begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and stir with a wooden spatula. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot frequently and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the onions are well browned, 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the ale and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and cook at a vigorous simmer until all but a thin layer of the ale has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and beef broths and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Spread the bread in a single layer and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, push the bread cubes closely together, and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the croutons and a sprinkling of the chives.