What is Irish Onion Soup? Basically, it’s just French Onion Soup made with beer! Yum! So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day 2012, I’ve turned my delicious French to Irish using my husbands favorite beer, Guinness. Normally, I think Guinness is just too dark and bitter but whenever I add the creamy and filling beer to my recipes, it takes on a whole new life. Just check out my Guinness Milk Shake from St. Patrick’s Day 2011! I was planning to do another dessert this year but it seems like Guinness cupcakes, chocolate cake and pudding are all over the internet right now so I wanted to try something different. And you just can’t go wrong with beer, sautéed onions and lots of cheese!
Guinness Irish Onion Soup Ingredients
3-4 cups sliced onions
1/2 cup butter
2 bay leaves
sprinkle of pepper
1 bottle Guinness
4 cups vegetable or no-chicken broth
2 cloves minced garlic
splash of Worcestershire sauce
day old bread
1 clove garlic, whole
Swiss cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, shredded
I preheated my oven to 400 degrees F. I then melted 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) in a large heavy pot on medium-low heat. I wanted to use my Dutch Ovenbut I use it for meat all the time and I didn’t want this soup to be meat. For anyone who is confused, I keep Kosher and I can’t mix dairy and meat so cooking in a meat pot would mean I can’t melt piles of cheese over the soup and that would be just horrible! So I used a regular large pot instead. Once the butter was melted, I piled on the onions, a sprinkle of pepper and 2 bay leaves and stirred. I covered the pot and cooked the buttery onions for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 20 minutes, I gave the onions a quick stir and placed the pot in the oven for one hour. I placed the cover on top but left it open a bit so the onions would brown nicely. I was originally going to saute my onions on the stove slowly until nice and brown but I really didn’t want to smell like onions all day. I found this trick to use the oven on the internet and it was fantastic. Just to make sure I didn’t smell all day, I also opened every window in my house! Thank goodness for the beautiful New York weather in the middle of March! I stirred the onions half way through cooking. If you want your onions to be even darker after 1 hour, just give them a stir and continue cooking for a bit. You can also place them on the stove to saute for another 10-15 minutes.
I placed the onions on the stove on medium and cooked for 5 minutes. If you are using a Dutch Oven, you will probably have delicious brown bits all over the bottom of the pan. Don’t forget to scrape those up so they add flavor the soup! My pot was non-stick so sadly, I didn’t have any of those brown bits. After 5 minutes, I added the Guinness beer and stirred. Say hi to me in the reflection of the bottle!
I cooked the onions and beer for 5 more minutes then poured in the vegetable stock. If you are making this soup meat, or you don’t keep Kosher, add beef broth! If you are using vegetable or no-chicken broth, don’t worry because the dark beer will add the intensity and color that beef broth would give you. Turn the heat on the stove to a simmer and add the garlic and Worcestershire sauce, cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes.
While the soup was simmering, I prepared the toppings. I buttered up thick slices of day old Italian Bread (you can use any type of bread you want) and broiled them for a few minutes in the oven to get all toasty. Be careful not to forget about them in the oven!
When the toast came out of the oven, I rubbed a piece of whole garlic over the slices to add that delicious garlic flavor. This is also a great tip when you make bruschetta. Not everyone likes to bite in to a piece of garlic but when you rub the garlic on the bread, the flavor melts right in!
Since the bowls I decided to use were small, I needed to cut the bread to fit on top! If you are using a nice big bowl, just keep the slices as is. So I used a small round cookie cutter to shape the yummy garlic bread to fit.
Next I shredded the cheese. I used Swiss and Parmesan but you can use whatever cheese you want!
Now comes the second best part (the real best part is eating, right?!?). When the soup was done simmering on the stove, I ladled the beer and onion goodness in to my pretty new mini ramekins. Just use whatever oven-safe bowl you want! I recommend something really large. I left some room in the top of each ramekin for the toast and cheese. Next I placed a round of garlic toast on top of the soup then piled on the Parmesan and Swiss.
I placed the ramekins on a cookie sheet and broiled on high for a few minutes, until the cheese was melted and bubbly.
Heaven! Absolute heaven. Sweet slow-cooked onions, bitter Guinness broth, garlic toast and melted cheese. Need I say more? Who needs French Onion Soup when you can make IRISH Onion Soup?!? Make a huge batch so you can eat the leftovers all week.