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Porter Caramelized Onion Flatbreads with Smoked Gouda and Roasted Tomatoes

Porter Caramelized Flatbreads with Smoked Gouda and Roasted Tomatoes_

A few years ago I decided that I need unbiased proof that I was actually good at this recipe development thing. That my recipes were good, not because the photos were pretty, or because they sounded good, or because some guy on twitter said he wanted to marry me.

But that an unbiased panel of experts thought they were good.

My solution to my self-esteem crisis was to enter recipe contests. The second one I entered was a chicken cook-off. Of course I choose chicken thights, and added a chipotle béarnaise and a few months later I got a call: I was in the finals. The unbiased panel of experts had chosen my recipe, along with 4 others, out of thousands of recipes that were submitted as the best that were entered. A few weeks later they shipped me off to San Diego to compete in a Chicken Challenge that ended with a giant foam core check with my name on it. I’d won.

Of course the $1000 check and trip to San Diego was a great prize, but the real trophy was the validation that I was actually good at this thing I want to dedicate my life to. At a post Winner Winner Chicken Dinner press conference I’d asked one of the chefs who had been a part of the original selection process what he looked for in a recipe, clearly he didn’t make all thousand submitted recipes.

He told me that all great entree recipes have these elements: fat, acid, protein, and a fresh herb. That’s what he looked for. Maybe that’s why I always reach from something green to sprinkle on top of the entrees I make.

Although he didn’t say anything about beer. Maybe he should re think his strategy.

Porter Caramelized Flatbreads with Smoked Gouda and Roasted Tomatoes 2

Porter Caramelized Onion Flatbreads with Smoked Gouda and Roasted Tomatoes


For the Crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • 2/3 cup malty beer brown ale, beligan ale, etc

For the Onions:

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 sweet white onions sliced
  • pinch salt
  • pinch white sugar
  • 1 cup porter beer

For the Toppings:

  • 4 wt oz smoked gouda cheese sliced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, sugar and garlic salt. Mix until combined.
  • In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until most of the flour has been moistened.
  • Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes (while the dough rises, start the onions).
  • Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface. Knead several times, cut into 6 equal sized pieces.
  • One at a time form the dough into 6 inch circles. Place on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.
  • While the dough is rising, make the onions. In a saucepan or Dutch oven melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and sugar, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add beer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beer has mostly evaporated and turned to a glaze about 20 minutes. Make sure to keep the heat low or the onions will burn before they caramelize.
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Add the tomatoes to a small bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, set aside.
  • Top the 6 flatbreads with slices of Gouda, then add about ¼ cup of caramelized onions, then tomatoes.
  • Brush exposed crust with olive oil.
  • Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until crust has turned golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.


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Rebekah {aCricketSang} March 26, 2014 um 4:52 am

I’ve made a couple of your recipes and they are great. I would have made more but I keep cooking the same few over again but they’re so good. My favorite is the occhioto ale pasta! This looks like another winner, which will be added to my of recipes to try.


Tieghan March 26, 2014 um 6:15 am

These flatbreads look amazing! I love caramelized onions and with the gouda? Yum!


addie | culicurious March 26, 2014 um 8:03 am

You know, I graduated from culinary school and I never heard "what makes a great entree" stated quite so well. It’s brilliant and something that I’d like to incorporate into my own entree cooking. Also: Beer. Always beer. 🙂


Katrina @ WVS March 26, 2014 um 8:04 am

I need to make those porter onions immediately!! Holy amazing lady!!


Michelle Lahey March 26, 2014 um 10:20 am

I’m loving porters lately…and I always love pizza! These look incredible!


Katherine H March 26, 2014 um 11:53 am

Love your stories and the recipes. Even better is that I love the food that is the result of your recipes! Great work! Keep it up!


Sophia @ NY Foodgasm March 26, 2014 um 11:55 am

Seriously AMAZING Jackie! I love roasted veggies and I love beer braised onions!


Ive March 26, 2014 um 6:53 pm

Only a word: MARVELOUS!!!


ashley – baker by nature March 27, 2014 um 5:23 am

You’re such a great story teller, Jackie! And of course, a GREAT cook 🙂 LOve these flatbreads!


bev @ bevcooks April 1, 2014 um 7:50 am

Pizza thingies = Happy Bev. The end.


allie @ the apothecary bee April 24, 2014 um 7:34 am

a flatbread is how i discovered my lifelong distaste for onions was completely unfounded. the fact that you used a porter to caramelize them makes them even more irresistible! i must try this recipe!


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