This is one of my all time favorites when the temperature outside begins to drop. Not only is this soup savory, but it incorporates one of my true indulgences: exquisite cheese. Gruyère cheese is a type of Swiss cheese (I know this becuase I visited the town of Gruyère once, located in Switzerland ~ Heaven!!) with a sharp, distinctive tang. Seriously, I could eat it all day though my body would NOT be happy.
Which is why it remains a seasonal treat around our house. Born and raised in Ohio, my husband doesn’t eat soup during the spring and summer but seeks it out like a bee on honey come November. And who am I to deny him? Wouldn’t think of it–especially since it’s so easy to make. Time consuming, but simple.
French Onion Soup
2-3 lbs. onions (I used 2 oversized sweet onions becasue we like our soup low on the onions and high on the broth)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 TBSP butter
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups beef broth
1/3 cup white table wine (use the good stuff!)
1 TBSP Country French Dijon mustard (or similar)
salt & pepper, to taste
wedge of Gruyère cheese
fresh loaf of French bread for topping (Sourdough bread substitutes well)
Slice the onions into rings. Heat butter in large heavy pan on medium heat and sauté onions and garlic until browned and very tender. This will take a while — approx. 35- 45 minutes — and should NOT be rushed. You want the onions thoroughly caramelized and dark brown.
Trust me, it lends to the flavor of the dish. If you skimp, or lower your heat because you fear you’re burning them, you’re only cheating yourself and your family come meal time.
These onions (shown above) simply will NOT do so keep browning! Can you tell the difference? The edges are not “blackened” yet. And don’t worry about the dark stain forming on the bottom of your stainless steel pan. You’re about to deglaze!
So once you have your onions nice and BROWN, add your wine and deglaze, briskly scraping bits and pieces from bottom and sides of pan. Give it 2 – 3 minutes or scraping and shaking, or until a creamy glaze forms. Then add your broth and mustard and stir to mix…
Season with salt & pepper to taste, and simmer for half hour. You can leave them on longer if you wish. This dish can also be prepared ahead, easily reheated before serving. Slice your loaf of bread into 1/2 rounds or similar sized pieces, depending on the size bowl in which you will be serving, and lightly toast. Ladle soup into bowls, place toasted bread on top of soup and layer cheese over top. Place bowls on a baking sheet and place under broiler until cheese turns bubbly golden-brown.
Serve immediately. CAUTION: This soup should cool a bit before delving in!
My family prefers the Sourdough version but both taste delicious. For an interesting twist, sprinkle your cheese with nutmeg. Nutmeg and Swiss are natural companions in the kitchen.