Kitchen Play: Beer-Braised Spring Onion and Herbed Goat Cheese Focaccia Pizza

by Heather on April 4, 2011

When I found out about Kitchen Play, a site designed to bring members of both the PR and the blogging community together, I knew that it was something I wanted to join forces with.  What blogger wouldn’t?  Each month there are 6 new bloggers chosen to play a part in a Progressive Party to make something new and different from varied sponsors.    Even better, there’s a contest you can enter as a blogger at Kitchen Play – all you have to do is make and blog about one of this month’s dishes and you’re entered to win $100!  I know one thing I love is that each product is different, which means that every dish has something new and fun to offer.

Little did I know how different mine would be and how excited I was to use it!

So, that being said, what do you know about spring onions?

No, I’m not talking about those thick-skinned, non-sweet, and sometimes overpowering guys you find at the grocery store (yes, we’re talking about onions here…not real guys).  I’m talking about the ones you find in the months of April-August, with their supple skin and perfectly sweet flavor.  You know the kind:  you can use them in salads and not get overwhelmed, slice them on top of burgers, caramelize them for pastas – the options are endless!  And thanks to the fabulous National Onions Association you can find out all about onions, including fantastic recipes!

Funny story:  when I was younger (read birth-19 years old) I swore up and down that I would hate onions as long as I lived.  I would throw a fit when my mom would include them in dishes and cheer my dad on when he would take his out.  I pledged my onion hatred with gusto, an oath that I took very seriously.

But y’all, some oaths were made to be broken!

In case you haven’t noticed, I adore onions now.  Couple them with garlic and you’ll find me practically salivating all over myself before I even put a bite in my mouth.  What other ingredient do you smell so clearly before cooking?  What other ingredient can become such a chameleon of flavor?  Onions are one of the great loves of my culinary life, but like all great love stories you have to have made it through the bad times to appreciate the depth of emotion you feel now.

So yes, when I found out I was to make something amazing with spring onions, I was almost at a loss for what to create.  There are so many dishes that truly showcase the unique and beautiful flavors; which should I choose?  Finally I concluded that I wanted to take some inspiration from Marcella Hazan, oftentimes considered the Julia Child of Italian cooking in the way that she brought authentic Italian to the masses in books.

You see, several years ago we were in a little thrift store in a little town in Colorado.  It was one of those stores that screamed, “YOU’LL NEVER FIND ANYTHING USEFUL IN HERE!  MIGHT AS WELL GO HOME!”  You know the kind…dusty, dingy, and in a questionable part of town.  But like a beacon of light, I found the cookbook section and, after poring through dozens of slow-cooker cookbooks, I found the reason we had come that day:  Marcella’s book The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.  Ever since, I’ve been reading up on how to create authentic Italian cuisine in my own kitchen and loving every second of it.

The recipe that I’ve most wanted to make has been the Smothered Onion sauce from the ‘Pasta’ section of the book, but never made the time to actually create it on my own.  Do you see how this is all playing out here?  It was fate that I was assigned spring onions, fate that I found Marcella’s book that day, and fate that I was lost in finding a proper dish until that moment of clarity when it hit me:  Beer-Braised Spring Onion and Herbed Goat Cheese Focaccia Pizza!

BEER-BRAISED SPRING ONION AND HERBED GOAT CHEESE FOCACCIA PIZZA

  • 6 cups (about 3 large spring onions), skins removed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ½ cup lager beer
  • 6 oz plain goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp herbs, fresh or dry, a combination of basil, rosemary, and thyme
  • 1 loaf focaccia bread, cut in half width-wise

Cut each onion in half and slice VERY thinly.  Make sure you separate each layer to allow for better cooking.  In a large pan fitted with a lid, melt the butter and oil together.  And the onions and toss to coat.  Turn the heat to very low, cover with a lid, and cook for 1 hour, stirring halfway through the cooking time.  Once an hour is up, remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium high to cook off all the liquid the onions produced.  Once the liquid is gone and the onions start to take on a caramel color, pour in the beer.  Stir, making sure to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Cook until the beer is gone.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

While the onions are cooking, chop the herbs and crumble the goat cheese.  Taking the back of a fork, mash all of the herbs and cheese together until well combined.  Toast each the focaccia bread for about 5-7 minutes until slightly browned.  Spread the goat cheese mixture on top, then top with the hot onions.  Garnish with  sprigs of rosemary or parsley and serve either warm or at room temperature.

This focaccia pizza was served with a great side salad, and we made sure to pre-cut the slices for portion control.  Because once you get a taste you won’t be able to stop!


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