Irish Onion Soup
This is a recipe for an Irish infused variation of Onion Soup Gratinée (i.e. baked French onion soup). The original recipe was published by Tasting Table, and originates from chef James Klucharits, who is a 2011 graduate of the French Culinary Institute. My modifications from the original recipe are minor, and include minor alterations in measurements and procedures. The soup is uniquely flavored, and very different than baked French onion soup, which is typically based on chicken broth, white wine, and topped with Gruyère cheese. This Irish infused version is based on beef broth, Jameson Irish whiskey, Guinness stout, and topped with Irish cheddar cheese. The photos above and below were taken by me before consuming the dish, so there is no trick photography or modification of the food, as is done with many cookbook or food blogs.
From an ingredient perspective, I use as many imported Irish products as possible, including Kerrygold Irish butter, Jameson Irish whiskey, Guinness draught, and Kerrygold Irish cheddar cheese or Boar's Head Irish cheddar cheese. From a preparation perspective, it is critical to toast the French bread, or it will sink quickly to the bottom of the bowls along with the cheese. Depending on the width of the bread, sometimes I will cut two slices so that they barely fit into the bowls, and almost have to be wedged on top. You can optionally serve the soup with some Irish soda bread or brown bread, and obviously, a pint of your favorite Irish beverage of choice, such as Guinness draught, Smithwick's Irish ale, or Harp Irish lager. A soundtrack of some Irish "trad" (i.e. traditional) music is also a must!
Irish Butter: 2 tablespoons
Yellow Onion: 2 large, sliced crosswise into ½-inch thick pieces
Jameson Irish Whiskey: ½ cup
Sugar: 1 tablespoon
Flour: 1 ½ tablespoons
Garlic: 1 teaspoon, minced
Guinness: ½ cup
Beef Broth: 6 cups
Ground White Pepper: ½ teaspoon
French Bread: ¾ inch slices, toasted
Irish Cheddar Cheese: 8 ounces, freshly shredded
Bread: optional, Irish soda bread or brown bread
Steps to Prepare
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to low, and add the onions. Cook about 20 minutes, and stir regularly with a wooden spoon until the onions are soft and golden.
Add the whiskey, and stir about a minute.
Add the sugar, and stir about 4 minutes until the onion mixture turns darker.
Add the flour and garlic, and stir about 2 minutes.
Add the Guinness, and stir about 4 minutes.
Add the beef broth, season with the ground white pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Preheat the broiler while simmering.
Place four oven safe bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide the soup into the bowls, and leave about ½ to ¾ inch room at the top.
Place the toasted French bread on top of the soup in each bowl, and cover liberally with the shredded Irish cheddar cheese.
Place the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is melted and begins to turn golden brown. Remove and optionally serve with Irish soda bread.