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Aired March 19, 2014

Bacon, Beer and Worcestershire Onion Soup with Blue-tons

serves 4

    1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
    10 slices smoky, lean bacon, chopped
    4 large onions, quartered lengthwise then very thinly sliced across
    4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons fresh thyme
    Black pepper
    1 bottle pale ale, at room temperature
    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1 quart veal or beef stock
    2 cups water
    Salt, to taste
    4 slices good quality white or sourdough bread, corners trimmed (if necessary) to fit tops into your soup bowls
    2 tablespoons melted butter   
    1/2 pound smoked blue cheese or English blue cheese, crumbled
    2 tablespoons minced chives
    2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped 
Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat with oil. Add bacon and stir until crispy but not overcooked, 5 minutes or so. Add onions and garlic, and stir in thyme and pepper. Cook 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are very sweet and caramel in color. Turn heat up to medium-high, add beer and reduce by half. Add Worcestershire, stock and water to pot, and simmer for flavors to combine. Season with salt, to taste.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Brush bread slices with a little melted butter and bake 12-15 minutes until golden and toasted. Top toast with blue cheese and return to oven 3 minutes to melt cheese. Remove from oven and top with herbs.
Fill soup bowls and top with blue cheese croutons.