grilled cheese
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Grilled Cheese with Sussex Beer Onions

Beer Grilled Cheese

Welcome to my third annual autumn grilled cheese recipe. This, one of my favourite blog traditions, began in 2015 with blue cheese on rye. It was expertly continued with BBQ sweet potato in 2016, and I’m very pleased to inform you that 2017 is bringing us my best grilled cheese work yet: oozy, melted gouda with onions caramelised in Sussex IPA and a cheeky squirt of Guinness BBQ sauce.

My local friends over at the Lost and Found Brewery sent me this IPA to play with. They were Brighton based but have just moved to bigger and more permanent premises in Horsham (still pretty damn close). They’re all about creating modern, vibrant beer and doing it properly, and they’re definitely ones to watch. Keep an eye out for them on Twitter and Facebook and check out their online shop. The Guinness BBQ sauce is something Tom and I found when perusing the condiment aisle at the big ASDA (something we do with pathetic regularity) and comes highly recommended.

The bread you use is really up to you. The strong flavour of the onions speaks for itself here and can hold out against pretty much anything. I’m using a walnut cob from Sainsbury’s – this is literally only because I was looking indecisive in the bakery section and some friendly old dude sauntered up behind me and went “get a lovely walnut cob, that’s what I’m getting, love a walnut cob”. Who am I to argue with that level of commitment to a bakery item from someone with so many years of eating experience?

So, beer onions. You may already be a beer onion pro, it may be a concept you’re lucky enough to have delved into plenty of times already. This recipe is for the people (like me) for whom they’re a very recent and exciting discovery. The deal is, you cook onions incredibly slowly to caramelise, then add beer right at the last minute and cook to reduce. The sweet, boozy flavour you end up with is just begging to be consumed with heart-attack-inducing amounts of hot, melted cheese. God, they’re good. Enjoy, my friends..

Serves 2

4 thick slices of bread, each buttered on one side
1 onion, sliced as finely as you can manage
100ml beer
6 slices gouda
BBQ sauce

  1. Heat a little oil in a non stick pan with a lid and cook onions on a low heat, covered, for anything up to half an hour. Taking the lid off occasionally to stir and make sure they’re happy.
  2. When they’re looking brown and starting to get all sticky and gorgeous, gently add the beer and cook until reduced.
  3. Heat a clean non stick pan on medium/low and add two of the bread slices, butter side down. Layer them with cheese, BBQ sauce and onions and keep a close eye on the underside. Cook for anywhere between five and ten minutes, until the underside is brown and crispy.
  4. Put the other bread slices on top, butter facing upwards, and flip the whole sandwich over so that the new, uncooked butter side is facing the heat. Again judge this by eye, it’s done when the underside is golden brown. Smoosh the sandwiches down with a spatula while they cook.

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