Legend has it that onion soup was created by King Louis the XV of France when all that could be found in the pantry of his hunting lodge was butter, onions and champagne. It is said that he combined these ingredients to create the first French onion soup.
The modern version of the soup has evolved from a basic recipe where onions were sliced, fried and then cooked in water and served with bread and capers. By the nineteenth century, cooks added salt and pepper and topped the soup with cheeses such as Gruyere.
Here’s my “riff” on this modern version of onion soup. It is infused with Irish goodness including a wee bit of Guinness Draught in the broth and melted Blarney Castle cheese on top.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic (minced)
4 medium yellow onions (peeled and sliced thin)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (chopped)
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy
1½ cups Guinness Draught beer
6 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
4 slices whole wheat bread (toasted)
7 ounces Kerrygold Blarney Castle cheese (sliced thin)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt, and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown.
Add the thyme, lemon juice, brandy and beer. Reduce liquid by half and then add the vegetable stock and bouillon. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
Just prior to serving, preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to 4 ovenproof onion soup crock bowls or ramekins. Top with toasted bread slices and sliced cheese. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown slightly (about 5 or 6 minutes). Carefully remove the soup bowls from the oven and serve immediately.