Roundstone Rye Onion Soup with Appalachian Cheese Crouton

Our spirited soup will take the chill off after any outdoor winter activity. We discovered this award-winning rye whiskey at Catoctin Creek, a small organic distillery located in Loudoun County, and decided to substitute it for the sherry or white wine traditionally used in onion soup. Sip a neat glass of rye on the side with the soup and you will be warm in a few delicious minutes. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Roundstone Rye
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices toasted baguette
1/2 cup grated Meadow Creek Appalachian cheese, or other cheese that melts easily

Instructions
  1. Heat the oil or butter in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until they soften.
  2. Turn up the heat and cook until the onions begin to caramelize (brown).  Add a little water to deglaze the pot and prevent burning.  Continue cooking until the onions begin browning again and deglaze a second time with a little more water.  Cook until the onions brown again, add the garlic and deglaze with the rye.  Cook until the liquid evaporates.
  3. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaf.
  4. Preheat the broiler.  Fill 4 soup crocks 3/4 full with the onion soup, top each with a slice of toasted baguette and 1/4 of the grated cheese.  Broil for a minute or two until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Four-Onion Soup variation: Try a combination of yellow, white and red onions along with a few shallots for a sweeter version of this classic soup.

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