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Wednesday 15 January 2014

Guinness French onion soup with aged cheddar slow cooker / Crockpot recipe... perfect for cold winter nights!

I've been itching to break-in my new crockpot I picked up a few weeks ago.  The biggest selling point was prep, turn it on, go to work/ go to bed and come home/wake up to a meal.  So I asked my friends what their favourite slow cooker recipe was, with chicken tortilla soup and a Guinness French onion soup coming in at the top.  Since I had a can of the beer kicking around (strangely, there was only one lonely can left)... it was going to be part of a yummy Guinness French onion soup recipe one of my lovely nursing friends sent me!!

I think the original recipe was supposed to be for a smaller 5 quart crock pot, and since mine was a heftier 7 quart slow cooker so I made some adjustments and tweaks since the original recipe only went less than 1/2 way up my pot and I didn't want it boiling dry by the time I got home!  And yup, I cried up a storm thinly chopping up all the onions... went to bed and woke up to a wonder savory oniony soup goodness literally permeating my house all the way upstairs... ladled the lovely fragrant stuff out...

I had some Balderson 2 year old aged cheddar in my fridge so I just used that instead of hunting down Irish cheddar, though it would have rocked with some 10year old cheddar. And tossed it under the broiler atop some french bread...

Assembled... and should not have wore a red shirt cuz the camera picked up the ruddy hues

The onions were all soft, but still intact, the soup was on the light side for me (I may toss in some veal stock or a splash of red wine next time and maybe fresh rosemary instead of dried) but it was offset by the rich cheesey toast.

Besides... melted cheese, savory onion soup and nearly zero work AND beer!? Win. Win. Win.

Ingredients Modified from original recipe found at Skinny Forks
-6 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
-one full head of garlic, peeled, chopped
-3 Tbsp butter (salted is ok since you'll be salting to taste anyways)
-1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
-8 cups (2 - one litre cartons) reduced sodium beef broth
- 1 (11.2 Oz.) can of Guinness beer
- 3 bay leaves
-1 heaping Tbsp dried rosemary
-salt and pepper to taste
-baguette sliced thinly (French bread is larger and more difficult to hack into thin slices as I discovered)
-Cheddar, sliced (I used Balderson, Aged for 2 years)

Gluten free version:
Use gluten free bread and gluten free beers such as: The Alchemist's Celia Saison, Green’s Gluten Free Beers: Endeavor, Sprecher Brewing Co's Shakparo Ale, Estrella Damm's Daura, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales' Tweason’ale, Harvester Fresh Hop IPA, Epic Brewing Company's Glutenator

1) Night before you want to serve soup (or 10hrs before): Place onions, garlic, and butter into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat setting for 45 minutes to an hour or until onions begin to soften. Give it a stir every now and then so you won't have random stray slices getting crispy on the sides.
2) Stir red wine vinegar, broth, beer, bay leaf, rosemary into onions. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 7 to 9 hours (or high heat setting 3 to 4 hours) or until onions are very tender. Once the soup is finished, remove the bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.
3) Right before serving, preheat oven broiler and set out individual slices of bread onto a baking sheet. Top bread slices with cheddar cheese and broil until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Ladle soup into bowls and top with toasted 'croutons'. Serve piping hot.

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