This soup is delicious! I need to start there because I have only made it twice, both times with my friend Mari (I’ll explain later), about 2 years have past since the first time I made it, and it took me over a month to finally post the recipe. I really don’t know why because it is seriously good.
So to explain why I seem to only make this with Mari…it started when our kids were smaller. In the winter on the rare snow day we would take the kids to a nearby hill to sled. So fun, but so cold. Afterwards we would all be hungry so off we would trudge to the local pub. While the kids talked about their epic run down the hill and chowed down on chicken fingers and fries, Mari and I would enjoy steaming hot bowls of french onion soup. While satisfying, I couldn’t help thinking that we could make a better version and with chicken stock instead of beef (for my somewhat vegetarian friend).
So I started where I always do, searching recipes, choosing the best of each and coming up with one best recipe. And so it was…so much flavor, a good amount of onions mixed into the broth, and a perfectly toasty and cheese melty crouton on top…it is comfort in a bowl on a cold winter day.
Now that the cold seems to have settled into the east coast once more I really have no excuse but to make it again. And you should too!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus 2 tbs olive oil (I like the flavor it adds)
8 small white onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, like 6 or so
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 cup red wine (about 1/2 the bottle)
3 heaping tbs flour
2 quarts chicken stock (or beef if you prefer)
1 baguette sliced
shredded Gruyere cheese
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and turning a caramel color. This takes some time. Like 30 to 40 minutes or more. Don’t rush this bit because caramelizing the onions flavors the soup!
Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 to 8 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
Dust the onions with the flour and stir. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for about 8 minutes (don’t burn the flour but just cook out the raw flour taste).
Add the chicken stock, bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. To serve, ladle soup into bowls or crocks if you have them, top with bread and then cheese and broil until the cheese is bubbly and melted.