Cooking Up a Hooley in the Kitchen:
Cozy and Cheesy Irish Onion Soup with Mushroom and Brie Grilled Cheese
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, we need something to warm and tasty to enjoy on these cold winter nights. This Irish take on the classic onion soup and the sophisticated twist on the always-popular grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect combo of savory and homey.
Irish Onion Soup Makes 8 servings
8 Large Sweet Yellow Onions – thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
8 Garlic Cloves – finely chopped or minced
12 oz. Guinness Stout Beer
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 Tbsp. White Sugar
6 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
10 cups Beef Broth
2 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp. Black Pepper
Salt to taste
8 Slices Rye Bread
8 Slices or 8 ounces Irish Cheddar Cheese (I like using Kerrygold Dubliner)
In a large soup pot, over medium heat sauté butter and garlic until soft and fragrant
Add sliced onions – cover and cook for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently until they are brown and caramelized. Stirring is important to prevent the onions from burning.
Sprinkle with flour and cook 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with white sugar and cook an additional 2 minutes
Add Guinness and cook for 5 minutes.
Add Beef Broth, Worcestershire Sauce, Thyme, Bay Leaf, and Black Pepper
Simmer for 1 hour (can simmer all day if desired)
Add Salt to taste.
Place Rye Bread inside bottom of oven-safe soup bowl or crock
Top with Cheddar Cheese
Ladle soup into bowl or crock on top of bread and cheese. The bread and cheese should rise to the top. Add additional cheese and place on cookie sheet under the broiler for 1 minute until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Be careful – the bowls will be very hot.
Mushroom Brie Grilled Cheese Makes 6 Servings
16 oz. (2 packages) Mushrooms – any variety (I use a blend of button, cremini and shitake)
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 ounces Spreadable Butter
12 Slices of Hearty Bread (Sourdough or Multigrain works great)
12 ounces Shredded Greyer Cheese (you can use Swiss here if you like)
6-8 ounces Soft Brie Cheese (you can use any number of flavors – I use a mushroom or a truffle- flavored one)
Sauté the mushrooms and butter in a skillet until browned and caramelized. Salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from pan and allow to drain.
Spread both sides of each slice of bread with spreadable butter.
Spread one side of 6 slices with the Brie Cheese.
Place those 6 slices Brie side up in skillet (cook only 3 at a time)
Top each one with mushrooms and then the Greyer.
Top with remaining 6 slices of bread.
Cook over medium until golden. Flip and cook the second side until golden and the cheese is melted and gooey.
Place sandwiches on plate and slice in half.