French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a heart-warming, rustic soup that’s great on cold winter days. But because it has a lightness to it, and isn’t thick like a stew, it’s even better for those busy cool spring days, to warm you up but not slow you down, as you enjoy the sunshine, new growth, and brisk breeze.
- 6 Spring onions
- 2 quarts vegetable stock or beef stock
- 1 cups water
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or or 1 tbsp dried
- 2 tbsp organic all-purpose flour (optional)
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Garnish with toasted slice of French baguette and grated Gruyère cheese (see Cooking section below for broiling instructions)
- Cut 1/2 inch thick slices of French baguette, toast in 350F oven until golden brown on both sides; set aside.
- Note: Can be made a day ahead and stored at room temp in a sealable plastic bag.
- Peel and wash the onions, slice in half, cut thin slices from top to bottom (julienne); set aside.
- Wash and dry the fresh bay leaves and sprigs of thyme; set aside.
- Grate the Gruyère cheese if not already grated; set aside.
- Heat a large soup pot on medium heat, wait a minute for the pot to warm up, add the oil and the butter, when the butter has melted add the onions, bay leaves, thyme, a pinch or two of kosher salt, and a couple of turns of black pepper, stir to mix well, cook (sauté) on medium heat for 30 minutes or until very soft and golden brown.
- Note: Stir every couple of minutes to ensure that the onions caramelize evenly but more importantly to make sure they don’t burn as they will quite easily if left unattended for too long.
- Add the flour (or not), stir to mix well, cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the sherry to deglaze the pot, stir to mix well, cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Note: Sautéeing will generally lead to lots of little bits of browned and flavorful particles, or fond, sticking to the bottom of the pot. Deglazing is the term given to adding a liquid, like sherry in this recipe, to a pot or pan with something being sautéed in it to release the fond from the bottom, adding to the flavor of the dish.
- Preheat the oven to broil, set a rack on the topmost level.
- Add the stock, stir to mix well, cook for 30 minutes.
- Note: If you choose not to add flour you can reduce this cooking time to 15 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning, add salt and black pepper if necessary and to taste.
- Ladle into oven-proof bowls, place a slice of toasted French baguette on top then sprinkle a little (or a lot) of grated Gruyère cheese.
- Place the bowls on a heat-proof tray and into the preheated oven and on the topmost rack, cook until the cheese has melted and started to caramelize.
French Onion Soup