French onion soup with beer

I had a bag full of onion and nothing to do this afternoon. I’ve also been having a craving for a good french onion soup. It was a perfect situation. Except for the cheese. I only had pre-grated Italian mix cheese. It worked but, really, you want emmental or gruyère for this.

2 1/2 lb onions (about 7)
4 table spoon butter
1 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
3 french shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 bottle of dark beer
1 liter of beef broth
1/2 tea spoon dried thyme
1-2 bay leaf
baguette, cut into croutons
cheese, to taste
salt and pepper



1. Peel and half all your onions.

2. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Thinly slice the onions and throw into the pot. Stir to coat with the butter and add a generous pinch of salt.

3. Cook on medium low-heat for as long as they need to start getting some golden color. If it starts looking dry, add a bit of water and scrape the sugars from the bottom of the pot to recoat the onions.

4. When they are near the color your want (this was after a bit more than 1 hour) add the white balsamic vinegar.

5. Keep an eye on them, the extra sugar will finish caramelizing the onions very fast.

6. Add the diced shallots and the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant.

7. Pour in the beer and make sure to scrape up all the sugary fond at the bottom of the pot.

8. Add the beef broth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

9. When the soup is nearly ready slice the bread into croutons.

10. Put in the oven under the broiler to toast.

11. Ladle the soup into heat resistant bowl. Add toasted croutons and cover with cheese, to taste.

12. Put in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and started to turn golden. Serve immediately.

Whole yellow pea soup

A variant on pea soup made with whole peas as well as split peas and more vegetables. It keeps more texture from the whole peas and the diced vegetables while the split peas fall apart and give body to the soup.

The soup bone can be from a ham, if so try to keep some flesh on it. I got mine from my butcher (I had no intention of making a ham) so it’s very bare.

This is a slight modification of the recipe found here.

1 soup bone
4 liters water (16 cups)
600g whole dried yellow peas
300g split dried yellow peas
2 onions
2 carrots
3 celery branches
2 parsnips
1 leek
1 small turnip (or 4 baby turnip)
1/4 of a nutmeg, grated
1 table spoon summer savory leaves
6 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoon salted herbs
black pepper to taste


1. Put the whole peas in a large bowl that can be sealed.

2. Fill with water and put in the fridge overnight to soak.

3. In a large stock pot, combine the water and the soup bone.

4. Bring to a boil. Skim the foamy scum that may form on the surface.

5. Take the soaked peas out of the fridge.soaked

6. Drain and rinse them well.

7. Add to the stock pot.

8. Add the split peas (they don’t need to soak). Simmer for 2 hours, stirring once in a while.

9. Meanwhile, dice the vegetables.

10. At the two hour mark the whole peas should be very soft and the split peas should be falling apart. You’ll want to be stirring this a bit more frequently at this point so that the broken down peas don’t form a crust at the bottom of the pot (they can scorch). Skim any film like scum from the top of the liquid.

11. Add the vegetables.

12. Add the nutmeg, salted herbs, summer savory leaves and bay leaves.

13. Stir in the chopped parsley and add black pepper to taste. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently and skimming the film like scum for the top of the pot. Add boiling water if it gets too thick.

14. Serve warm.


Potage Crécy avec croutons à la croque-monsieur

That is, carrot soup with ham and cheese croutons.
Simple French food but good for the soul. The perfect thing to answer the recent weather.

2 table spoon butter (plus some for the croutons but that is optional)
2 small onions
1/4 cup basmati rice
4 cups carrots (two generous handful)
2 boxes chicken stock
1/2 tea spoon thyme
1 french baguette
Ham (about 10-12 slices)
Emmental cheese (to taste)
Salt and pepper


1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot.
Only insisting on this because this is one of the few recipes where I wouldn’t swap it for olive oil. Really go for butter.

2. Roughly chop the onions and toss them into the butter. Allow to sweat over medium-low heat for a few minutes. You want to avoid coloring them.

3. In that time, clean (peel if your carrots require it) the carrots and slice into rounds about 1/2″ thick.

4. Rinse the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Add to the pot with the onions and stir to coat.

5. Add the carrots to the pot and stir to combine.

6. Add the chicken stock (about 1 1/2 box). Save the remaining 1/2 box chicken stock for later.
Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes.

7. When it’s about done, slice the bread.
Line your baguette slices on a cookie sheet line with aluminum (or parchment paper)

Mine was a day old and a bit dried so I brushed it with melted butter, but that is optional.

8. Add ham (1/2 slice per crouton) on each piece of bread.

9.Grate the emmental and add on top of the ham.

10. The soup should be ready by now, so take it off the heat. The rice should be falling apart and the carrots very soft.
Put the croutons in the oven on broil while you blend down the soup.

11. By the time the soup is blended the cheese should be melted and just, just, starting to get some color. Take the croutons out of the oven.

12. Adjust seasoning on the soup. If it’s too thick add more chicken stock.
You can add cream, sour cream or crème fraîche at this point if you want, but I usually don’t bother.

Serve warm with the hot melty cheese croque-monsieur.
The soup should be filling but light and bright and the cheese and ham savory and satisfying.

Split Pea Soup

A classical Québec dish, usually served in the beginning of spring during sugar shack season. It’s a classical peasant dish, filling, satisfying and overall rather cheap to make.

1 smoked ham hock 
1 large onion, finely chopped 
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 bay leaves 
4 cups chicken stock 
2 cups yellow split peas
1/2 tea spoon thyme
pepper to taste
olive oil


1. Heat about 1 table spoon of olive oil in your pot then add all the veggies. Sweat for a few minutes.

2. Add the ham and allow to warm so the fat starts rendering slightly.

3. Add the bay leaves.

4. Add the stock, water and split peas. Bring to a simmer, then cover.

5. Check on it every so often. This is after one hour… the peas will absorb a lot of liquid, add water as needed.

6. My ham was too dry/hard to deal with when I first started but the simmering has softened everything up so I was able to remove the skin from the meat. I also added a bit of black pepper to the soup. You can do this at the beginning of course, if your meat allows for it.

7.After a further 20-30 minutes add the thyme.

8. When the peas have turned to a thick mush you’re about done.
Mine turned out a bit too salty, so I peeled a potato and cut it in half then added it to the pot. It soaks up some of the salt.

9. Remove the ham from the soup.

10. Harvest any meat from it, discard the collagen bits.

11. Serve warm, add meat to bowls to taste. 

Fish Soup

A delicious and light soup. Any firm white fish would work, just make sure that you get something that stays firm as  it cooks..

Ingredients :
1 cup orange juice
2 cups fish stock
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1/2 fennel bulb
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1 thaï chili
3-4 tomatoes
1 lb of monk fish
Zest of 1/2 orange
2 pinches of saffron
salt and pepper
olive oil


1. First peel the tomatoes. Cut an “x” shape cut at the bottom of each tomato.

2. Drop the cut tomato in boiling water for 30-40 seconds.

3. Transfer the tomato into cold water. The peel should be tearing away from the flesh on it’s own.

4. Remove the skin. Repeat for all tomatoes and set aside.

5. Drop the fish stock in a pot and bring to a simmer then set aside.

6. Deal with the fennel. Rinse any dirt from the outside.

7. Cut those antenna like growth. The fluffy green things are edible if you want to keep them.

8. Cut the bulb in half. Remove the outside leaves and the bitter core.

9. In a large soup pot, warm about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, finely diced and sweat for a few minutes.

10. Finely dice the fennel.

11. Add the fennel to the onions and sweat for a few minutes.

12. Add the diced bell peppers to the onions and fennel and allow to cook down for about 2 minutes.

13. Peel and dice the potato. Skin and mince the garlic. Add to the pot.
Allow the potatoes to warm up with the other vegetables for a few minutes then deglaze with the orange juice. Allow the juice to reduce by 1/3.

14. During that time, dice the tomatoes (they should have cooled down enough to handle)

15. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir them in,

16. Add the orange zest and saffron. Cut the chili pepper open and drop that in as well.

17.  Add the fish stock. Bring to a simmer,

18.  Cover and cook until the potatoes are done (about 15-20 minutes). Fish out the bird’s eye chili. You can use the base as is or blend it down. I wanted something smooth so I blended it down.

19 .Retrieve the fish from the fridge. Remove any and all bones.

20. Cut the fish into bite sized cubes.

21. Gently drop into the simmering soup. Poach the fish in the soup for about 10 minutes. When the fish is ready it will firm up. Serve warm. Eat with some crusty bread.

Carrot and Pear Soup

Surprisingly filling and tasty soup. The carrots and pears pair well together.

4 cups of carrots (between 6 and 10)
2 pears
1 1/2 box of vegetable stock
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh thyme
Fresh ginger
olive oil


1. Pre heat the oven to 400F.
Peel and cut the carrots and the pears. Drizzle with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and a few sprigs of thyme. Mix well to ensure all the parts are coated in oil. Put in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender. Stir once or twice while cooking.


2. When the carrots are about done warm a bit of olive oil in a large pot and add the chopped onion and garlic clove.

3. Sweat the onions for a few minutes then add as much grated ginger as you care for.

4. Remove the carrots from the oven and discard the thyme.

5. Add the roasted fruits and vegetables to the onions.

6. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Bring the heat down and simmer until the carrots are fork tender (10-20 minutes)

7. Blend the soup and stir in the lemon juice. Serve with some more thyme and a dollop of sour cream.

Oven roasted butternut squash soup

Totally stole this recipe from Ros. But she has the right idea of Fall being for soups.

1 huge butternut squash
2 medium-large onions
3 small garlic cloves
2 box of chicken stock
4 small, tart apples (empire and spartan in my case)
2-3 table spoon maple syrup (or more, to taste)
Fresh ginger
salt & pepper
olive oil


1. Pre-heat the oven to 385F.

Slice the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds and membrane.

2. Slice in wedges and spread on baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. If your butternut is a normal size you’ll get way with just quartering it… mine was huge so I went with wedges and 2 baking sheets.

3. Drizzle the wedges generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can also use melted butter, if you prefer. Put in the oven and roast for 45-50 minutes.

4. About 20 minutes before the end of the timer, chop the onions and garlic and sweat for a few minutes with about a table spoon of olive oil.

5. While the onions are cooking down, peel and slice the apples.

6.  Add the apples to the onions along with the ginger, allspice and cinnamon (I used about 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/4 tea spoon of cinnamon, but really use as little or as much as you want)

7. By now the squash should be ready. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool so you can manipulate it. Peel the squash and cut it in chunks. Add to the pot with the onions and apples.

8. Add 1 box of chicken stock and the maple syrup and bring to a boil.

9. Blend down, adding stock as needed to get to the desired texture. Taste and adjust seasoning (it will likely be missing salt).

10. Serve with croutons. It’s even better with a dollop of sour cream, or just some cream, but I was out.