The Cheese "Classics"
As the colder months are fast approaching, we’re entering into what the team at Fromage likes to call “Classics” season. That is, those meals that we consider winter classics made with the kind of classic cheeses most people are familiar and comfortable cooking with. We know that nothing says winter quite like a thick, piping hot soup, a warm casserole fresh from the oven or a delicious après-ski fondue with friends (YES that’s a classic and YES they are back in style!) If you’re also a fan of classic books – we suggest you snuggle up now with a good book, in a cosy armchair, with an even greater classic on a dinner tray in front of you – a delicious, nutritious and classic cheesy meal. Now that’s winter!
First up is fondue. We actually talked about this waaaay back in February so we won’t go in to too much detail but fondue is both a classic and on trend. Now that we are able to have a few guests over (all good things in moderation) you might choose to have a tasty fondue bubbling away as part of your games night or wine and cheese entertaining. Disposable skewers are a must and we have the classic cheeses that work best including Swiss, Gruyere and Emmenthal. As the classics go – this one is a “Classic” classic!
Winter just wouldn’t be winter if we didn’t cook up a big pot of stew, chilli or soup. A warm, meaty (or vegetarian) stew chock full of vegetables and potatoes and a thick gravy broth is warmth personified and when accompanied by a side of bread and a classic cheese like an aged, old cheddar it’s a hearty dinner. Chilli is fantastic with grated orange cheddar on top or for fans of cheese a bit spicier, pepper Jack cheese or cheese with a dash of jalapeno would be fantastic. You might also go with another straight up chilli classic and top your bowl with Monterey Jack. If stew or chilli isn’t your thing, perhaps a big bowl of soup is. The Internet offers abundant recipes for classic soups using classic cheese including an all time favourite for many – broccoli and cheddar soup. Yum!
We also know someone who serves a variation of an LCBO recipe from several years ago that has four cups (4!!) of a very old, mature white cheddar from Wales that she swears makes people forget that they are also consuming squash! Then of course, there is that “mother” of all classic soups containing cheese – French Onion Soup. Deliciousness in every spoonful and if it’s made well, you might even need a knife and fork for the cheese. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of cheese is most commonly used for French Onion, it’s neither French nor oniony! Is oniony a word? It’s a perfect combination of Swiss and Gruyere! **see recipe at the end of the blog!
Finally, there is no shortage of casseroles that rely on cheese for warmth, for flavour, texture and because of its pure “melty deliciousness.” Homemade macaroni and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser and a perfect make ahead meal that can be frozen and hauled out and set to cook on a timer on a sunny Saturday when you’ve been tobogganing with the family. Typically including an orange cheddar, some folks jazz up their macaroni bakes with other classic cheeses such as; monterey, swiss, gruyere, colby and even smoked gouda! By the way – you’ll find all of these cheeses at Fromage – plus about 50 other varieties too! We offered a recipe for Mac ‘n Cheese a few months back, have a look at our August blog for inspiration.
We haven’t even started talking about another whole country’s worth of classic cheeses…Italy. Mozzarella is a staple in many recipes including lasagne and pizza of course and then there’s parmesan cheese, romano cheese, ricotta cheese and the list goes on. Burratta cheese is wonderful warm or cold but since we’re talking warmth today, we’d have to recommend making a good old-fashioned lasagne, layering in at least three of the classics; parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella. Whatever else you choose to include is up to you because with those three cheeses involved, it is guaranteed to be flavourful!
Winter is coming but so too are the classics! Have a look around your kitchen and make a list of what you’ll need to make any of these comforting classic cheesy meals. Then, head to Fromage on Broadway in Orangeville and let us help you shop for just the right cheese in just the right amount. If you too tired to cook from shovelling snow or enjoying a day on the slopes, don’t forget Fromage offers a bevy of beautiful homemade meals to go and guess what? Most of them contain cheese!
Classic French Onion Soup
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3 pounds (about 5 medium) sweet onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups beef stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 (3/4-inch-thick) French baguette slices
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes.* Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the stockpot.
- Stir in beef stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
- Stir in white wine vinegar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Place baguette slices onto a baking sheet. Place into oven and broil until golden brown on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side; set aside.
- Divide soup into ramekins or ovenproof bowls. Place onto a baking sheet. Top with baguette slices to cover the surface of the soup completely; sprinkle with cheeses. Place into oven and broil until golden brown and cheeses have melted; about 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately.