My Recipe Box

Onion and Ale Soup with Blue Cheese Croutons


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 121

This boldly flavored twist on French onion soup lets the onion come through loud and strong. Gorgonzola works well for the croutons because it’s not overpowering and melts nicely, but feel free to use your favorite kind of blue cheese.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lb. yellow onions (about 3 medium), halved through the root and thinly sliced lengthwise (see below right)
  • Kosher salt
  • 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.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 490, Fat (kcal): 25, Fat Calories (g): 220, Saturated Fat (g): 9, Protein (g): 19, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13, Carbohydrates (mg): 47, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2.5, Sodium (g): 850, Cholesterol (g): 25, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made a double batch for a church pot-luck supper and it was a big hit, especially the croutons. Everyone said "Who made those great croutons?" What about the soup? Oh, they liked that too. I made the soup in the morning and transfered to to my crock pot where the flavors blended on "warm" all day. I used a hearty whole wheat boule for the coutons. Only downside was cutting up 3# of onions at 7:30am. Even my cats were crying! hahaha

This was so easy and sooooooo good. The blue cheese made the soup it gave it such a good flavor that this will be my go to soup. I really think the pale ale helped round out the flavor.

There is something of alchemy in the interaction between the oniony, slightly sweet broth and the yeasty bread with funky, salty cheese. Delicious alchemy, perfect for a cold, rainy winter day.

I loved this recipe. I'd use a stronger ale though....

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