This is the strangest February in my 64 years of living in Minnesota. There is literally no snow cover. My deck, and hence the path to my grill, are pristine. Yesterday it was 64º...on February 17th...in Minnesota! And in honor of these great temps, I've been grilling up a storm.
Monday night I grilled a big, juicy rib eye for Steak Caesar Salad. Extremely high winds kept me indoors on Tuesday. Wednesday was T-bone night. Thursday I grilled bone-in, thick-cut pork chops. Last night I ground up some short ribs to make handmade pub burgers, which I grilled over mesquite. And tonight, thanks to Costco, I snarfed up two, USDA Prime porterhouse steaks...which I will also grill over mesquite.
While this warm spell has been great, being a Minnesotan you know that winter is going to come roaring back and spank us hard. When that happens, it's back to cooking indoors on the stove. So I will share a favorite Irish recipe that will let you do just that. The recipe is essentially identical to French Onion Soup, but differs by two ingredients...Guinness beer and Irish Cheddar. But, oh, what a difference those two ingredients make! This Katie Sweeney recipe serves six.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced with the grain
- 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 2, 11.2-ounce bottles Guinness stout beer
- 6 cups beef stock (store bought, Rachel Ray recommended)
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 pound Irish cheddar, such as Kerrygold Kilaree, thinly sliced
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add onions and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Stir in thyme, vinegar, and beer. Cook until beer reduces by half. Pour in beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Preheat broiler oven setting. Ladle soup into individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with bread slices and sliced cheddar. Broil until cheese melts and begins to brown. Serve piping hot.
Wine pairing: Pinot Noir