guinness feast, part 1: onion soup

I love cooking with a theme, and this week I put together a 3 course menu themed around Guinness.

This soup is an Irish take on a French onion soup – Guinness replaces wine, and I used Irish cheddar to melt on the top instead of traditional Gruyere cheese.

I chose to prep my version of the night, but it’ll still taste great if you make it all on the day.



4 x onions, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin to keep mine in perfect rings)

1 x knob of butter

1 tbsp olive oil

3 x cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 a can of Guinness Draught

600ml hot, rich beef stock

2 x bay leaves

a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with cold water to make a paste

1 x baguette, finely sliced

200g mature Irish cheddar, grated

serves 4-6


  1. heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. add the garlic cloves until they turn slightly golden in colour – just long enough to release the flavour.
  2. add the onions to the pan and stir regularly for approx 5 mins to stop them catching on the bottom of the pan. bring the heat down to a low temperature and sweat the onions for about 15 minutes until they’re soft.
  3. add the guinness to the pan and bring the heat back up to medium. leave until the liquid has reduced by about half.
  4. now, this is where you can make a key decision – i cooked my onions in the guinness a day ahead and set aside at this stage. the onions soaked in that fantastic flavour. i then began from stage 5 the next day, and simply heated the mixture beforehand – effectively marinating the onions! if you don’t have the opportunity to make it the night before, carry straight on to the next step.
  5. pre-heat your grill. add the stock, bay leaves and thyme to the onions and leave on a medium heat for approx 30 mins. the liquid should reduce slightly.
  6. toast your baguette slices under the grill until they’re crispy but not too dark in colour.
  7. i found the soup a little too watery, so i made a cornflour paste and combined with the soup. once satisfied that this has mixed in, season to taste and remove from the heat. remove bay leaves and serve into bowls.
  8. top your bowls of soup with the toasted baguette croutons and sprinkle over the grated cheddar. pop under the grill until the cheese is melted.
  9. serve your little pots of gold!

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