Category: Asset 3Arts & Leisure

Veg Out With Luscious Seasonal Produce

November 9, 2011

By Staff Reporter

With farm stands and green markets still brimming with early autumn produce, there’s no need to ask what to do with all those tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and squash. Help is on the way with these luscious recipes for soups and sides that will warm you up when the big chill hits.



The French may have invented onion soup, but it took the Irish to give it a flavor all its own. In this recipe, Irish stout gives the traditional soup not only a deep rich color, but also a unique, malty flavor. Instead of the traditional topping of Gruyère cheese, try it with Kerrygold Swiss or Blarney cheese.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 large yellow onions,

peeled and sliced

2 large red onions,

peeled and sliced

4 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dark

brown sugar

3 cups homemade beef

stock or canned

low-sodium beef broth

1 cup Murphy’s or

Guinness stout

Salt and freshly

ground pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded

Kerrygold Swiss or Blarney

cheese for topping

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not browned. Add the bay leaves, basil, thyme, brown sugar, stock or broth, and stout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange 8 flameproof crocks on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into the crocks and sprinkle with the cheese. Place under the broiler 4 inches from the heat source and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to brown. Remove from the oven. Using oven mitts to protect your hands, place a crock in the center of each of 8 serving plates, and serve immediately. Serves 8



Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, provides resources, recipes, and advice to consumer and chefs alike on all aspects of Irish food and drink. This recipe from Bord Bia utilizes three Irish staples-bacon, potatoes, and blue cheese-and the zucchini, a vegetable the Irish call “courgettes,” adds extra flavor and color.


2 tablespoons olive oil

5 to 6 slices traditional

Irish bacon, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium zucchini, slices,

and a few slices reserved

for garnish

3 medium potatoes, peeled

and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 cups chicken stock or

canned low-sodium

chicken broth

4 ounces blue cheese,

preferably, Irish, crumbled

2/3 cup half and half

Freshly ground pepper to


3 tablespoons minced fresh



In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until nearly crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove a few pieces and reserve for a garnish. Stir in the onion, zucchini, and potatoes, Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion and zucchini are soft but not browned. Stir in the stock or broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes,

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor blender and purée until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the cheese and half and half, and season with pepper. Simmer until heated through. To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the reserved bacon and zucchini and the parsley. Serves 4 to 6 as a starter



Try this casserole with steak or pork chops. Add more or less basil and thyme to suit your taste.


4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

4 large baking potatoes,

peeled and sliced

2 to 3 large tomatoes,

roughly chopped

Salt and freshly ground

pepper to taste

4 to 5 fresh basil leaves,


1 sprig fresh thyme

1/4 cup grated Parmesan



Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a large casserole with butter flavored cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Add the potatoes and mix gently until well coated. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is browned. For a crisp top, put under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Serves 4 to 6


Margaret M. Johnson, the author of six Irish cookbooks, is currently writing “Flavors of Ireland” for Ambassador International.


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