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
- 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.
- 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.
- add the guinness to the pan and bring the heat back up to medium. leave until the liquid has reduced by about half.
- 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.
- 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.
- toast your baguette slices under the grill until they’re crispy but not too dark in colour.
- 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.
- 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.
- serve your little pots of gold!