When we were doing recipe research for this post we came across an oddly large number of what could only be considered ‘odes of love’ to French Onion Soup. Phrases such as gorgeously cheesy, transcendent, rich, gooey, smoky, and silky are thrown around…alot. I have to admit that before making this soup at home I didn’t quite get it. I’ve had it a couple of times in restaurants but I don’t remember it rocking my world or being very memorable.
However, when we tasted our creation, I got it. It starts with the slow and patient caramelization of the ridiculous quantity of onions and thyme, then progresses with the addition of rich beef broth and wine. It’s taken over the top with a huge and crusty crouton capped with copious amounts of cheese broiled to a golden crisp. The whole experience of cooking and eating the soup is calming, comforting, and simple. Make this and start the new year on the right foot!
Initially I wasn’t expecting to choose a white wine to pair with this soup but I did some reading and felt that in reality a white would be a great accent and complement to the richness of the soup and the faint sweetness of the onions. This wine has medium body that stands up well to the soup and fruit and citrus notes that provide a brightness that works!
Much like our French onion soup, Troegenator doublebock beer is best appreciated on a cold winter day to help warm your soul. This brownish red beer has aromas of malt and dark fruits with flavors much the same: rich malt, caramel, and dark fruits that all mask the 8% alcohol content which provides a nice warming sensation.
French Onion Soup
Based on this recipe.
Makes about 6 light main course servings
Total time: 1.5 hours
2 lb medium onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth (32 fl oz)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 ciabatta rolls
1 (1/2-lb) piece Gruyère
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.
2. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
3. While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove bread from oven and preheat broiler. Put crocks in a shallow baking pan.
5. Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks, then float a bread in each. Slice enough Gruyère (about 6 ounces total) with cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
6. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.