When you live in the land of sun, scorpions and incessant heat you don't expect to endure a blizzard but Mother Nature sent us one yesterday. Quite honestly, I thought I was back in Alberta there for a minute because it was the kind of snowfall common in Calgary during the spring - you know, big wet flakes and a strong wind.
Ian Tyson, our favorite cowboy songwriter sings of "Springtime in Alberta ..."warm sunny days and the sky so blue; then without a warning another winter storm comes raging through" and that kinda' sums up what yesterday's storm looked like.
Anyway, I digress. It was the only excuse I needed to put a pot of soup on the stove and an Apple Pandowdy in the oven. A rather interesting twist on French Onion Soup from Fine Cooking, this Onion And Ale Soup with Blue Cheese Croutons is all about the onion but the thing that takes it over the top's the gorgonzola melted over sourdough croutons. Actually in my opinion, it's the only thing going for it.
I know I'm a hard nut to crack, but I'll admit to being disappointed over the soup itself. It is definitely a purists kind of onion soup with yellow onions caramelized to a dark amber color before the pan's deglazed with a mere half cup of ale, followed by a mix of chicken and beef stock. Other than salt and pepper and a rather insignificant amount of beer, there's no other seasoning in this one so if your pantry is depleted of herbs and spices, this'll be the one you want to make.
Personally, I like my onion soup jazzed up with a little thyme, a smidge of garlic, some good bacon, red wine and a rich beef stock instead of chicken, but that's just me. I will however concede that the croutons are magnificent - crunchy golden orbs of cheese covered sourdough and I can't wait to try them the next time I make my favorite onion soup recipe. Cutting the bread in cubes and melting the cheese on them before they hit the soup bowl is a heck of a lot easier to eat never mind you don't have to burn yourself putting the bowls under the broiler to melt the cheese.
That I will definitely do again, but the soup -- meh! Hit the link above and head to finecooking.com for the recipe. The only change I made was that I used a few tablespoons of butter in the pan instead of olive oil to get the onions started.
A year ago - Red Beans and Rice
Two year's ago - Broccoli Gratin