It’s fall and that means it’s time to bring out the soups and stews. Surprisingly, I know several people who aren’t into them, and to that I say good, more for me! Often a large bowl is enough for dinner, so this recipe is designed to feed 2-4, depending on whether or not you intend to serve this as a starter or the main course.
This recipe was inspired by the version included in Stephane Reynaud’s new book, French Feasts (more details on this book in an upcoming post). Even though my recipe is quite different, I wanted to recreate the simplicity of his preparation, while maintaining the flavor of a dish that took hours to produce.
I’ve noticed that there are a variety of preferences for onion soup , including the amount and thickness of the sliced onions, the flavor of the broth, the quantity and type of cheese – it seems to go on and on for a dish with so few ingredients. I’ve made several versions over the last few weeks and this is my favorite – tailored to my preferences, which include onions that are sliced a little thicker (about 1/4″ slices), a dark, rich broth and a medium amount of cheese on top of my baguettes. Feel free to play around with the recipe, it’s very forgiving. My only “rules” for this dish are:
- use high-quality Gruyere
- don’t forget to add the sugar – it helps the onions brown
- 3 large yellow onions, sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 32 oz. beef stock
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 baguette
- Gruyere cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the onions over medium-low with the butter and olive oil in a covered pot for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise the temperature to medium, stir in the salt and sugar and cook for 15 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine, allow to reduce by one-third, and then add the beef stock. Cook for 20 minutes – the onions will be very tender and the broth a dark brown color. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice and toast the baguette. Depending on the size of bowl, plan on presenting the dish with 2 slices of baguette per person. Keep some extra on hand for dunking!
Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls, put the baguettes on top and cover with grated Gruyere. Place bowls under a hot broiler to melt the cheese.
What are your favorite variations on this dish?