French onion soup is the culinary equivalent of being curled up with a plush blanket in front of a crackling fire. Ooey, gooey, salty, and savory, there is really nothing quite like it this time of year. But it might surprise you to discover that one of the most creative and irresistible takes on the recipe comes from a cruise line that’s known to frequent tropical points of call that don’t see a flake of snow or the mercury dip in winter.
At the Crown Grill and Sterling Steakhouses, two of the specialty restaurants onboard Princess Cruises’ ships, premium steaks, chops, and seafood are on the menu along with classic sides and appetizers like Wedge Salad and Shrimp Cocktail. But it’s their version of French Onion Soup that’s really the standout.
Why? “[It’s] enlivened with the unexpected flavors of whiskey and Roquefort cheese,” explains Michael Stendebach, vice president of food & beverage experience for the cruise line.
That’s right. The tangy, funky, crumbly-yet-soft sheep’s milk cheese hailing from the South of France that’s considered one of the world’s best blues subs in for the standard gruyere, where it plays unbelievably well off the sweet flavor of caramelized onions and the rich depth of beef broth. And since Roquefort doesn’t have a rind like other blues do (the exterior is edible with a grainy saltiness), it’s easy to prep the crust topper and pop the soup under the broiler.
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French onion soup is thought to date back to ancient Roman times, but the modern version came into favor in eighteenth century Paris. In the U.S. the dish grew in popularity during the 1960s because of a renewed interest in French cuisine thanks to chefs including Julia Child.
Princess Cruises’ riff—an ode to what les français have deemed “the king of cheeses”—is quite an unexpected twist. But think about it: If the combination of flavors works in a caramelized onion tart, why shouldn’t it in the ubiquitous steakhouse crock? A splash of whiskey (Princess Cruise chefs are partial to Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey) stands in for more traditional sherry, and the end result is not your father’s steakhouse starter.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Blue Cheese
You don’t need to book a stateroom and renew your passport to experience it either, as the culinary team has shared the recipe. But if you do find yourself on the Royal Princess sailing down the Pacific Ocean to Puerto Vallarta or on the Regal Princess gallivanting around the Caribbean, be sure to book a table at Crown Grill or Sterling Steakhouse start with this sine qua non soup.
Blue Cheese French Onion Soup
Recipe courtesy of Princess Cruises
Header image courtesy of Princess Cruise Line