Rustic French Onion Soup
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 large yellow onions, sliced into thin circles, then cut in half
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs (just leave them whole)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 quarts beef broth
- 4 slices of French bread
- 1/2 pound shredded Gruyere or Parmesan cheese
In a big soup pot over low heat, put the butter and melt it, then add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook slowly, until the onions are soft and they get pretty yellow, almost golden and caramelized. This should take about 20 to 25 minutes, don’t try to speed this up or the onions will fry and get browned. You don’t want that.
Pour in the wine and turn the heat up to bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat immediately to medium and cook until the wine evaporates and all you have left is the onions in the pot with the seasonings. This should take only about 5 minutes, so watch closely.
Pull out the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs now and throw them out.
Sprinkle in the flour over the onions now, reduce heat to medium-low, and stir and cook the onion/flour mixture, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.
Pour in the beef broth, turn heat up and bring the soup to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary for flavor.
To serve, ladle the soup into 4 bowls suitable to go under the broiler.
Put a slice of bread on top of each bowl of soup, then sprinkle the cheese over the bread and put the soup bowl about 6 inches under a preheated broiler, and remove when the cheese totally melts and starts to get golden brown.
If you don’t have broiler-proof bowls, just put the bread slices covered with cheese on a broiler pan and put them under the broiler. Then when the cheese melts totally, take a spatula and top the soup with a slice of bread with melted cheese.
This is as nearly an authentic French recipe as I have found. The wine is a big part of the rich flavor. It all cooks out (evaporates) and is only used for the flavor, not the liquid at all.
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