I never liked onions as a kid. Cooked onions were tolerable, but raw onions were the devil’s own handiwork as far as I was concerned. I would never have bitten into a whole raw onion like Stanley and Zero did in “Holes,” or like my Uncle Louie who ate a little plate of sliced raw onions with every meal, much to our teenage revulsion. (He could chew on whole hot chili peppers, too!) But now that I’m older, I’ve grown to love the odoriferous little globes. Besides the aromatic flavor they impart to your dishes, they’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I especially love them grilled, or caramelized into an onion relish.
This soup is amazingly delicious and is one of my Old Goat’s favorites. It’s rich and comforting and makes a satisfying meal served with a side salad. Though there are a lot of steps to it, the recipe is much easier to make than it looks. Just read it through and you’ll see what I mean. The French sure knew what they were doing when they came up with this dish.
FRENCH ONION SOUP
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 6 large yellow onions (about 3-1/4 lbs.), thinly sliced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio work well)
- 8 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley and 1 bay leaf, tied together
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices as needed to top 6 soup crocks
- 2 cups grated gruyere
- In a large, wide soup pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Cook onions gently, stirring frequently until they’re very soft and begin to turn a dark caramel color, 35-45 minutes.
- When onions are ready, stir in flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Pour in wine and raise heat to medium-high, scraping brown bits, until liquid is mostly reduced, 5-8 minutes.
- Add broth, toss in tied herbs, and bring to a simmer.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer 20-30 minutes.
- Remove herb bundle and adjust seasoning if needed. Soup can be made ahead to this point, then cooled and refrigerated for a few days.
- Heat oven to 450° and ladle soup into 6 soup crocks.
- If desired, toast baguette slices.
- Top each soup crock with baguette slices to cover without too much overlap.
- Divide cheese evenly over top of bread slices.
- Bake until cheese is melted and browning in spots.
- Serve immediately.