It’s been raining outside for most of the day, with a gentle breeze wafting in from the windows, so this seemed like a perfect rainy day soup to make. This sort of cool, rainy weather is honestly one of my favorite types of spring days, so here’s hoping we get more of those.

The original instructions on this are kind of vague, so I will be adding more detail.  Be sure to find a nice porter for this (I used a local brewery’s), along with a good cheese for the baguettes.  This will take a while, but the results are absolutely worth it.

Portered French Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • five large onions, sliced in half long ways, and then sliced thin into half-moons (see pic 1 for what I’m talking about)
  • 1 12 oz bottle of porter (I used Ale Asylum’s Contorter Porter)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or if you’re still not in the growing season where you are, 1 t ground)
  • 6 c beef stock
  • 2 demi-baguettes, sliced
  • cheddar (I used part of a leftover block of the Fawn)

Melt your butter while heating your olive oil over medium heat, and start slicing your onions.  When the butter/olive oil mixture starts to sizzle, add your onions as you finish slicing them, and cook them for a half hour, stirring every five minutes so that they don’t burn.  By the end of the half hour, they should be a rich brown, and very very soft (see pic 3).  Once they’re that nice brown, turn the heat to medium high and add your bottle of porter, stirring to get whatever bits of onion may have stuck to the pot.  Cook for five minutes, until it’s simmered and reduced a little bit.  

Add the salt, pepper and thyme, along with the beef stock, bring up to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer, simmering for about 40 minutes, until it’s been reduced by 20% (see the dif between pic 6 and 9). 

While your soup simmers, slice up your demi baguettes and cheese, topping generously.  Set your oven to broil, and then put the baguettes and cheese under it for five minutes, until the slices start to brown at the edges and the cheese gets bubbly and melty.

Once the soup has been reduced, add your baguettes to it (or if you’re me, save them for lunch later this week), and enjoy the amazing richness of it.

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This is another recipe I haven’t made in a while, but honestly, with the level of improvisation that I applied this time around, it’s a whole new recipe.  This recipe features the three Wisconsin greats: beer, cheese, and bacon; put your money and quality into these three ingredients, and honestly, it doesn’t matter what else you do to it, there’s nothing you can do to the recipe to fuck it up.  The bacon is from a local vendor who sells at our farmer’s markets, the cheese is from the University dairy store that’s literally a block down from where I work (and smoked and aged on top of it), and the beer is from a local brewer.  And the result is absolutely fanfriggintastic, and one I’d make again.

Ale and Cheddar Soup
Lasts 5 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • .5 lb bacon (thick cut, if you can get it from a farmer’s market or a local vendor definitely go for it), sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • .5 t ground thyme
  • 2 T butter
  • .25 c flour
  • 1 12 oz bottle ale (I used Ale Asylum’s Madtown Nutbrown)
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1 T Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • .5 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 c cheddar cheese (I used smoked aged cheddar from the university dairy store)
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

Cook your bacon over medium heat to desired doneness, and then put aside all but 2 T of the bacon grease.  Take your chopped onions and jalapenos, and cook about ten minutes, until tender.  Then add your garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant, which is usually one minute.

Melt your butter over the garlic, thyme, onion and jalapenos, and then sprinkle the flour over the top, until it coats everything and turns golden brown (see pic 5). 

Then, add your beer and chicken stock, followed by your bacon, cooking over medium heat for ten minutes.  Then, add your heavy whipping cream, the Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, and the smoked aged cheddar.  Stir continuously, until the cheddar is melted into the soup, but don’t bring it to a boil.  

Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and enjoy your little taste of Wisconsin.