Home Recipes Sherry Cask Ale French Onion Soup

Sherry Cask Ale French Onion Soup

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With a shameful amount of molten Gruyére capping baguette toasts in a caramelized onion-rich broth, French onion soup is a cold-weather bistro classic. Spirits like white wine and Cognac are traditionally used to add complexity to the deeply flavored broth, but sherry exceeds them all. So tip in a sherry-cask-aged English barleywine and you’ve taken your no-longer-very-French onion soup to an earthy and extra-ordinary new level.

Makes: 4

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large Spanish onions (about 212 pounds), sliced very thin
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 4 teaspoons J.W. Lees Harvest Ale
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ¾-inch-thick baguette slices
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, sliced


• Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the sugar; toss, cover and cook 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, and stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply golden, about 30 minutes, stirring more frequently toward the end.

• Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup of the beer, stirring to deglaze the pan. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the broths, vinegar, thyme, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 30 minutes.

• While soup simmers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 12 minutes, turning once.

• Preheat the broiler. Pour 1 teaspoon of beer into each of the four ovenproof bowls, then ladle in the soup. Float two baguette croutons atop the soup and cover with some of the Gruyère. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling.


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