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French Onion Soup

5 sweet onions (about 4 lbs)

3 tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

2 tsp white wine

10 oz canned beef consume

10 oz chicken broth

10 oz apple cider

thyme sprigs, bay leaf and parsley tied together with kitchen string

1 loaf country style bread

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

Splash of Cognac (optional)

1 cup Fontina or Gruyere cheese, grated

 

Trim the ends off each onion then halve lengthwise. Remove peel and finely slice into half moon shapes. Add butter to pan or electric skillet. Once butter has melted add a layer of onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat layering onions and salt until all onions are in the skillet. Do not try stirring until onions have sweated down for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany and reduced to approximately 2 cups (takes 45 min.-1 hr). Add enough wine to cover the onions and turn heat to high, reducing the wine to a syrup consistency. Add consume, chicken broth, apple cider and bouquet garni. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 min. Place oven rack in top 1/3 of oven and heat broiler. Cut country bread in rounds large enough to fit mouth of oven safe soup crocks. Place the slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler for 1 min. Season soup mixture with salt, pepper and cognac. Remove bouquet garni and ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Place bread round, toasted side down, on top of soup and top with grated cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1-2 min.

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