What is it about soup in the colder, rainy days? Because I don't know about you but soup never actually "fills" me up but boy do I craaaaave a bowl of hot steamy, gut warming soup as soon as my hands start to become cold on the reg. And what better than a classic french onion soup.
I NEVER used to like onions, maybe it was just a "kid" thing. My parents would put fried onions in everything imaginable when I was just a child and I always thought they were icky! I was around late teens when I started to actually enjoy onions and it was French Onion Soup that turned me onto them!
I love all kinds of onions so I tried to incorporate my favorites in this recipe. Spanish, Vidalia and Shallots. You can use any onions you like but I though the combination of these three made for the best French Onion Soup. Vidalia's are sweet, shallots are potent and a regular ol' spanish is the mediator.
Now the cheese, cheese is huge here. It's the icing on this soup. Yes the onions are the main ingredient in this dish but the cheese is what you break through to compliment the earthy onions and there is nothing better than Gruyere. Gruyere is the cheese God. It's nutty and melts ever so beautifully. I paired it with a nice swiss to add an extra kick and it came out TO.DIE.FOR.
And how CUTE are these little ramekins? I don't think my brother knows, to this day...but I stole these from him when he moved into his new apartment a few years ago. My dad had given them to him when our grandmother passed away but I felt these belonged to me since I am the cook in this fam. Sorry Nick! LOL
You can ladel these into bowls, top with bread and melty cheese but if you have the extra buck, buy some ramekins. It makes it extra special and you feel like you're in a restaurant in your own home when eating out of them! Plus, french onion soup needs his ramekin companion! Help a brother out!
and just a KISS of thyme. Thyme blends soooo well with the onions, it's a must to tie this soup together. It reminds me so much of Thanksgiving and just brings such warmth and comfort. It is crucial so do not skip it! A teeny herb can make all the difference!
Now what are ya waiting for?! The couch is calling your name and this soup!
French Onion Soup
yield: 4 servings
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 1 hour 5 minutes
4 Tbs butter
5 medium Spanish Onions thinly sliced
4 Shallots thinly sliced
1 large Vidalia onion thinly sliced
2 Tbs good maple syrup (or brown sugar)
2 garlic cloves finely minced/pressed
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 Sprigs Thyme, stem removed (save some for the topping if desired)
2 bay leaves
1 c dry Red Wine (or your favorite, I used Bordeaux)
4 c Beef Broth
French Baguette - 4 thick slices (about an inch or so)
4 ounces good Swiss Cheese
4 ounces good Gruyere Cheese
In a heavy dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat add in your butter and all of your onions. Cook until wilted and slightly browned - about 20-25 minutes.
Add in your maple syrup and cook another 5 minutes until onions start to caramelize then add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add in the salt and pepper, thyme and bay leaves, stir for one minute.
Add in the red wine, stir for another minute and then add in the beef broth.
Let cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes.
When ready to serve, grab ramekins and ladel the soup in, not completely to the top since we are adding bread and cheese.
Top with a slice of bread, 1 ounce of each cheese and place on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over.
Broil the soups for about 3-5 minutes, depending on oven - make sure you keep an eye on them! Broil until cheese melts and is slightly browned.
Take out, top with fresh thyme and ENJOY!!!