If you love onions and cheese you will really enjoy this ever-popular, hearty soup that is almost a meal in a bowl. Surprisingly there are many alternate theories about how this well-loved soup came about! However, in it’s basic, undressed form of just plain onion soup it has been enjoyed since antiquity. However, just when and how the yummy additions of crusty bread that sits on top, and the generous amount of melted cheese, came about- the jury is still out. We do know the French embellished the plain recipe and probably brought it up to today’s standards. We also know this ‘to-die-for soup’ did become popular in the nineteen century when North American cooks became interested in French cuisine. Today, it is one of the most ordered and enjoyed specialty soups of all time.
The recipe below has been slightly modernized but not one of it’s scrumptious ingredients has been left out that would in any way, detract from its tasty flavours. Rich and oniony, and melted-cheese satisfying- it is something to look forward to on a cool night.
Note: You will need 4-6 specialized onion soup bowls that are *tempered to be safe in the oven at a high temperature while the cheese broils.
(Can add 1-2 tbsp of flour as the onions cook, to thicken the broth but tastes just fine without it.)
3 large or 4 small cooking onions (sliced thinly)
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive or quality vegetable oil
6-7 cups of hearty beef broth
1/2 cup of dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. cognac (optional)
Baguette bread slices- medium to fit top of soup bowls
1 Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 slice of gruyere Swiss cheese (or two) per bowl
In a large soup or stock pot add the onions, butter, olive oil, salt, pepper and flour (if adding) Saute the onions until they are just beginning to caramelize and turn slightly brown. At this point, add the liquids and the spices, cover and simmer until the onions are tender (about 45 minutes). When it’s ready you have made the base. You can refrigerate to use later or go immediately to the next step. (If waiting to serve a little later, re-heat before filling the bowls.) Next, add the cognac (if using) at this point and stir to incorporate just before you start to portion the soup into the bowls.
Once you’ve ladled the hot soup into each bowl, you can arrange the crusty baguette slices (can be toasted), to fit on top of the onion soup. Then add the gruyere slices to cover the baguette slices. Finally, top the baguette slices with a handful or more of the shredded mozzarella cheese (to taste). And now you are ready to pop it under the broiler for the cheese to bubble and brown slightly. Before you dive in, remember- it’s hot!
This delicious, bubbly soup has almost gained iconic status as the go-to winter soup, so popular in apres-ski situations and apres-winter walks. However, you really can enjoy it anytime as a satisfying and yummy treat.
Image From Pixabay Public Domain photos sabinevanerp/55 images