All of the onions from this weeks farm share made me wonder what I could make with a ton of onions. I myself (or my husband for that matter) are members of the onion appreciation committee. BUT my mother-in-law is an onion fanatic. Fanatic in a sense that she will sneak onions from the cutting board and steal cooking onions from the pot on the stove. So, I figured what else can I do with 3 pounds of onion? French onion soup! This version uses vegetable broth instead of the traditional beef stock – making it suitable for the veggie crowd. If you’re looking to make a vegan version, swap the butter with olive oil and use a vegan cheese.
This dish, as simple as it is does take some time to prepare but is well worth the wait! Enjoy!
RECOMMENDED SUPPLIES: Soup crocks! If you do not have soup crocks on hand, you CAN use a casorole dish and layer your bread and cheese on top of it.
In a stock pot of dutch oven over medium-low heat, add butter and sliced yellow onions. Stir until they are well coated with the melted butter.
Cover and allow to cook for about 25 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
Remove lid and increase heat to medium-high to begin caramelizing. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and stir frequently until the onions become golden brown. If they look like they are cooking too rapidly, reduce your heat! Be careful not to burn.
Once your onions have caramelized, Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of white wine. Stir stir stir until you scrap up all of the fond from the pot.
Once the wine has cooked off, deglaze again with the cognac stirring and scraping the pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add your flour, stirring frequently to form a thick paste for about 2-3 minut. If this doesn't happen, add another tablespoon of butter.
Add the vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaves to the pot and stir well. Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
While your soup is simmers, now is a great time to make your "croutes" - aka toasted bread.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Drizzle each side of the bread slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Cook the bread for 15 minutes on each side until they are toasty and hard. Remove from oven and set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 350.
Back to the soup... Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and discard. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour your soup into several soup crocks and add a few thinly sliced raw shallots on top.
Layer a couple pieces of croutes on top. Then add a thick layer of shredded Swiss cheese on top, making sure you cover the bread well to prevent it from burning.
Place soup crocks on a baking dish (trust me, the cheese will melt and make a huge mess if you don't do this). Place in the oven for 30 minutes until cheese has browned.
Depending on your oven, you may have to turn it to broil for a couple minutes to achieve the browned cheesy goodness.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!