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French Onion Soup

From The Best Recipe, from the editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine:

for the soup:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

5 medium red onions (about 3 lbs), sliced thin


6 cups low sodium canned chicken broth

1 3/4 cups low sodium canned beef broth

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 sprigs fresh parsley

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

ground black pepper

for the cheese-topped crust:

1 baguette, cut on the bias into 3/4 inch slices (2 slices per serving)

4 1/2 oz Swiss cheese, sliced 1/16 inch thick

3 oz Asiago cheese, grated

Melt butter in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add sliced onions and 1/2 tsp salt and stir to coat onions thoroughly with butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are reduced and syrupy and inside of pot is coated with very deep brown crust, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in the chicken and beef broths, red wine, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, scraping pot bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, and bring to simmer.  Simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes, and discard herbs. Stir in balsamic vinegar and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. (Can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 days; return to simmer before finishing soup with croutons and cheese).

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position ; heat broiler. set serving bowls on baking sheet; fill each with about 1 1/2 cups soup. Top each bowl with two baguette slices and divide Swiss cheese slices, placing them in a single layer, if possible, on bread. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese and broil until well-browned and bubbly about 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

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