A bistro classic that is hard to pass up when done right. Unfortunately I’ve see it done wrong many times over. The finished product is a bowl that resembles the top of a pizza and then you are left to discover an excruciating hot or lukewarm liquid underneath it. But when done right ah… what a dreamy place. So let’s dream for a moment.
This classic French onion soup contains just a few ingredients: onions, broth, salt and butter served with slices of toasted baguette and topped with cheese. Historically the Romans and Greeks were serving up onion soup eons ago and the French improved on it by caramelizing the onions and topping it off with a crouton and cheese – Merci!
The magic of this soup is the caramelization of the onions and then simmering them into the broth for depth of flavor. The finishing touch with a slice of toast and cheese is a simple but important part of this recipe. The cheese needs to melt into the broth and mix and mingle with the flavors. A slice of toasted baguette is perfect to the side immersed into the broth but never covering it up. Go on..dream a little.
2 lb yellow onions sliced thin, julienne style
8 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of sugar and salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour
8 cups of beef broth
1 cup of dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper (optional)
6 to 8 slices of baguette or country bread
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter cut into 6 to 8 pieces (to place on top of the grated cheese)
3 cups of shredded Gruyere or Emmentaler Cheese
Onions: Over medium heat in a large (wide) heavy saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil. When the butter starts to foam add the onions and saute until translucent. Reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan to cook the onions until they are lightly golden (12 minutes). Sprinkle the onions with sugar and salt and raise the heat to medium. Continue to stir the onions until they are a deep golden brown (20 minutes).
Wine & Beef Broth: Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until the flour is browned and seasoned with the onions. Add the white wine scraping all the brown from the bottom of the pot into the liquid. Gradually stir in the beef broth + 2 cups of water. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions fall apart (25 minutes). While that is cooking start working on the toast.
Bread: Pre-heat the broiler and arrange slices of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast the bread, turning once until dried out (not browned – about 2 minutes each side). Remove the bread from the oven and coat each side with olive oil and return back to the oven (about 2 minutes each side). Take out and set the bread aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F (230C)
Place 6 oven proof soup bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the soup into the bowls filling them to about 1/2 inch from the top of the bowl. Place a slice of the toast on top of each bowl and sprinkle generously with cheese. Place 1 tsp of butter on top of the cheese. Bake until you see a golden crust form (about 10 minutes). Take out of oven carefully and you are ready to serve with a glass of dry white wine (preferably the same wine you used in this recipe).
Keywords: Meals, Onion Soup, Classic French Onion Soup, Soup