I’ve always been a fan of the classic, French Onion Soup. So, when I was asked by a sponsor to create a recipe using beer, a French Onion Soup with Lager was the very first thing that came to mind.
French Onion Soup: A True Classic
The sweetness of caramelized onions, beefy broth and Gruyere cheese just seemed to call out “beer me”. Although I do like to experiment with beer in cooking, I’m not much of a beer aficionado (I leave that to my other half). Off I went off to the BCLDB to grab a six pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
To say that I am not a beer aficionado, really means, that I’m just not a big drinker of beer. However, hubby cracked open a cold bottle and loved it. So I had a sip. It was good. Maybe I just haven’t tried enough craft beers, but this one had a really nice complexity of flavours. Which really inspired me to get cooking with it. I really got the hops and malt, and how they would be just amazing in this french onion soup recipe.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I set out to make this french onion soup, because I’ve made it many times but, never with beer. I’m happy that I trusted my instincts, though.
French Onion Soup + Beer = Delicious
This French Onion Soup with Lager turned out to be amazing. Seriously, delicious. The lager in the soup perfectly complemented the sweetness of the onions with a just a hint of hops and malt. I would have to say that it was the best French Onion Soup that I’ve ever made. And now my go to recipe.
Caramelize Those Onions
French onion soup is a classic but very simple dish. It’s super easy to make. But it’s important to keep in mind, that the key to the best onion soup is the slow caramelizing of your onions. You want to cook them slowly on low heat until they turn a golden brown. This is the most important part of the recipe. When you slowly caramelize the onions, it brings out their sweetness and adds an important depth of flavour to your soup.
Best Bread Topping For Your Amazing Soup Is….
An artisan sourdough, French, or Italian bread is perfect for this recipe. You can even use leftover garlic bread. And it’s totally OK if your bread isn’t fresh. It’s going to soak up all of that beefy, sweet caramelized onion goodness. And then be covered in toasty melted cheese. Enjoy!
And, if you like cooking with beer, you may also like Irish Bread Pudding with Guiness.
How to Make French Onion Soup with Lager
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 large sweet onions thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
- 12 oz bottle of lager
- 6 cups beef stock
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 6 slices french bread cut to fit snugly into ramekins or oven proof soup bowels, and toasted
- 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat.
- Add onions to pot
- Turn heat to medium low, and cook uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized. Watch carefully for any signs of burning, and turn heat lower if needed.
- Add the beer to the caramelized onions and stir, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits on your pot.
Add the beef broth, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, bay leaf and thyme, stirring well. Bring heat up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Put six ramekins on a baking sheet and ladle soup into each one.
- Put toasted french bread on top of each, and pile shredded cheese on top of the toasted bread.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese melts.
- Turn the oven off and turn on the broiler for about 5 minutes to give a golden crust to the cheese. (watch carefully so as not to burn)
- Serve Hot
Prep time includes caramelizing the onions. This can be a vegetarian soup by substituting vegetable stock for the beef stock Reduce the sodium indicated in this recipe by using no salt or reduced salt beef stock.