Belgian Onion Soup

There are few perceivable pillars of French cooking that are as widely and voraciously loved as scalding hot onion soup cloaked in a blistering layer of melted gruyere. Like many of the epic French dishes that cannonnize the cuisine of rural folk vegetarians usually remain wholly uninvited. How does one mitigate that beef stock in every single recipe of the gooest of soups?
Simple: Beer.
After trying small batches of all three colors fo the French tricolore, we settled on Chimay Blue; a dubbel style beer thats a houshold name for boozers. We also went too far in trying an earlier version of this plot…it was bad. But the Grade Reserve, or any other basic Dubbel, can become a super substitute for reduced animal gore. The malts and sugars eaak out a strikingly similar flavor when combined with all the wonderful juices of way to many onions.


2 Tbs. of butter
2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions halved and sliced thin
6 cloves of garlic
4 shallots
2 cups of Chimay Grande Reserve
4 cups of vegetable stock
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
½ tsp ground white pepper
1. Heat a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add the butter and let it blister.
2. Add the onion and cook uncovered. Let them sit for about four minute and then stir. Repeat until the onions have all begun to brown.
3. Add the olive oil, garlic and shallots and stir in the same fashion as before, one every five minutes, until the garlic an shallots have caramelized.
4. Add the beer, crank the heat to just shy of high. Let the beer boil off until there is ½ as much beer volume as onion volume.
5. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, and white pepper. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about two finger-widths. Taste the soup and add salt to adjust. Cook for at least an addidional 20 minutes before garnishing (below). In an ideal world, you should let the soup sit a day before serving it.

To Serve

4-6 slices of a crusty bread
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

Keeping it Vegan

The same crusty bread
1 Tbs. of brewers yeast for each slice of bread
1 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil for each slice of bread
1. Ladle your soup into oven safe receptacles, being mindful to leave one finger-width for your cheesy or cheese-free toasts.
2. Float the toast in the center of each bowl and cover with cheese. If you wanna do it vegan; douse toast with the olive oil.
3. Pop the bowls under the broiler either in your oven or your toaster oven, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown, or the olive oil slicked bread turns golden. Garnish with pinches of salt, and brewers yeast if appropriate.
4. Don’t burn your tongue.
Beverage: De Proef’s Flemish Primative Ale
Soundtrack: Metal Urbain’s Hysterie Connective

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8 Responses to Belgian Onion Soup

  1. Labarge says:

    God bless you. My favorite food. I want it in a little bag hanging from a pole, and injected directly into my veins. (how long do you think I would live?)

  2. Dave says:

    Wow this was tasty with that cheese bread on top. I imagine the Blue would work best for most recipes. Anything else you’ve used it in?

  3. Stacey says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! I just made it (well, the soup anyway… I haven’t done the bread and cheese part yet) and it’s delicious. Another thing I won’t have to give up now that I’m a vegetarian.

  4. Stacey says:

    Thanks for this! One more thing I don’t have to give up to be a vegetarian!

  5. freddy says:

    My mom made this for Christmas dinner! (Only we call it Sharksmas because it wasn’t really on the 25th…it’s sort of hard to explain.) She found the recipe herself online; I’m very proud of her. It turned out really well, and our vegetarian tablemates were so grateful to have onion soup without beef broth. I thought it needed a little tang, so I added a smidge of balsamic at the end, but other than that it was delicious.

  6. alex says:

    a mom made this? awesome.
    while our primary goal is to help other younger rapscallions looking to up the ante with their cooking moms making our fare really hits the spot!
    tell her thank you please, and thanks to all you other winter warmers for such positive feedback.

  7. momcat says:

    Oh, gosh, twarn’t nothin…
    But seriously, I appreciated the help with keeping the family dinner inclusive, yet delicious. I read you all the time, and get inspiration (and sometimes recipes).

  8. Jennie says:

    This soup was so great! We have tons of onions from our CSA box and haven’t known what to do with them all. Any more onion-heavy recipe suggestions?
    You guys are awesome. Thanks!

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