So please, go to the store, stock up on onions and try this soup.
Here’s the link to the NYTimes Red Onion Soup recipe published on 1/1/14.
…and because we all love Julia Child
[Prep: 20min / Cook: 1hr 15min TOTAL: 1hr 35min
- 3 lbs red onions, peeled and thinly sliced [about 4-5 medium onions]
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 table spoons olive oil
- 1 cup dry red wine [I used Cabernet Sauvignon, but Merlot and Syrah will work as well]
- 8 cups water
- 6 slices stale bred lightly toasted, or 8 slices of fresh bread toasted
- 6-8 oz. grated gruyere [you can also sub in some Emmenthaler or regular Swiss]
- 1 small bunch thyme, 1 teaspoon reserved
- 5 large dried sage leaves, if using fresh you’ll need fewer, it’s more potent
- 2 teaspoons salt
- salt and pepper to taste
Turn heat to mid-high under the pot and bring mixture of onions, garlic, red wine, deglazing water and herbs to a simmer, let sit for 5 minutes. Add two teaspoons of salt a few grinds of pepper and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil – this will take a few minutes, if the tap water is hot when you add it this will speed up the process a little. Once the soup is boiling turn the heat down so it stays a slow simmer - you may need play with the heat a little. Let simmer for about 45 minutes.
Now you can start prepping the bread, cheese and herbs. I suggested 6 slices of bread because this soup yields 6 bowls, however if you are making this recipe but only have a few mouths to feed you’ll only need a few slices. Also this soup (pre-cheese) will last a few days in the fridge and you can always freeze it for later! Grate the desired amount of cheese into a small mixing bowl. Chop the sage and thyme – or any herbs that you have on hand and think will go well – add them to the cheese and grate some fresh pepper on top. Mix it well. If your bread is fresh and not stale, now is the time you should toast it.
After 45 minutes have past, taste the soup and season accordingly, you can always add another splash of red wine or even sherry, cognac or brandy. Let cook for 5-10 more minutes.
You can make the soup ahead of time (up to a day ahead) and re-heat it. Once the soup is ready to plate put your oven on broil, make sure the rack in the oven is near the top, about 6 inches away, then pile the cheese and herb mixture onto the bread and put it in the oven. *I put the bread slices on foil first and then on a baking dish, otherwise the cheese melt over the sides and stick to the dish. You only need to leave the toast in the oven for about 45 seconds, just until the cheese is a browned and bubbly.
Now you are ready to plate the soup. Pour a few ladlefuls into warmed bowls and put the freshly made cheesy toast on top. Grate some fresh pepper and enjoy!
*If you have proper soup crocks with a rolled rim, follow these instructions for a more traditional presentation of the dish. Place the piece(s) of toast in the bowl before adding the soup and cover well with gruyere. Put the whole crock into the oven under the broiler, about 8 inches away from heat, for 3-4 minutes.