Editor’s note: NewWest.Net and Montana blogger Dave Budge are teaming up to bring you The Big Sky Buffet, a smorgasbord of recipes, restaurants, equipment, eating anecdotes and tricks and tips on how to prepare food. This first recipe for Blue Onion Soup comes from Rebecca Schmitz. Visit The Spoon for dozens of other recipes — and submit your own! — and check back to NewWest.Net every couple weeks for its tastiest morsels.
What follows is one of my favorite easy meals. Now that the leaves are turning, the weather’s growing colder, and there’s snow on Lolo Peak, it’s time for soup. This particular one, Blue Onion Soup, will appeal to both French onion and blue cheese lovers. I’ve been making it for years, and know the recipe by heart. Be sure to have lots of good crusty French bread on hand, and perhaps a little extra blue cheese to sprinkle on top.
- 5 to 6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 bottle of your favorite beer (a local brew is the best)
- 8 to 12 oz crumbled good strong blue cheese, like Stilton
Caramelize the onions in the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven. Be sure to let them get nice and brown–not burned. That means letting them cook on low heat for 45 minutes to a hour, stirring infrequently. Season the onions first with the salt and pepper. The salt will help caramelize the onions by drawing their moisture out and allowing them to cook in their own sugars. Once they have reached the right color (basically that of French onion soup), add the thyme, the stock and the beer. Turn the heat up and let the soup simmer, covered, for thirty minutes. Remove the lid, and crumble in the cheese. The amount depends on how much you love blue cheese. Me? I go for the full twelve ounces and then some. Turn the heat back down, and let the cheese melt and the soup barely simmer for another thirty minutes. Serve it piping hot with a hunk of bread to soak up every drop left in the bowl.