French Onion Soup

7 May

I have never and will never have a nickname.

Correction: When I was a kid, my brother and sister called me Annie. My name is kinda long and confusing, so Annie seemed to be a good nickname. I never really thought much about the name until I did. And then I really thought about it. I thought about all the implications and future consequences behind the name. And I had to put a stop to it.

See, one day a friend of my sister’s started calling me Annie, and it rubbed me the wrong way. It used to be a special name used only within my family, but now all of the sudden, it was a common name used by anyone and everyone. I could feel the name slipping away from me. It was no longer special, and somehow, neither was I. So I sat my family down and calmly expressed my wish to be called by my full name, Adrianne. Then my siblings would either a) forget or b) wish to irritate me, and I would calmly throw a fit.

After a long struggle Rather quickly, the nickname disappeared, never to return again.

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite soups. It’s common enough to find in lots of restaurants, but special enough that you may never have made it yourself at home.

It’s a surprisingly simple recipe for what seems like a fancy-pants soup. Just my style.

Adapted from Comfort Food

Serves 8


2 T. unsalted butter
2 1/2 lbs. yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 c. vegetable stock
8 c. beef stock
2 t. minced fresh thyme, or 1 t. dried
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 crusty baguette
2 2/3 cups shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese or 8 slices Provolone cheese


In a large, heavy sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until combined. Gradually stir in the vegetable stock, then the beef stock, and finally the thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Have ready eight 1 1/2-cup broilerproof soup crocks. Cut the baguette into 16 slices, sizing them so that 2 slices will fit inside each crock. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until lightly toasted on both sides, about 1 minute total. Set the slices aside. Position the oven rack about 12 inches from the heat source, and leave the broiler on.

Ladle the hot soup into the crocks. Place 2 toasted bread slices, overlapping if necessary, on top of the soup and sprinkle each crock evenly with about 1/3 cup of the Gruyère or Swiss cheese, or, alternatively, 1 slice of Provolone cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbling, about 2 minutes. Serve at once.

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