French Onion SoupServes 4 – 5

This traditional French onion soup is a favourite any time of the year but especially the comfort it brings on a cold winter day. It warms you from your toes to your nose. The secret of this soup is the slow cooking of the onions that creates its rich flavour.

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter and 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 3 – 4 large, onions, peeled, sliced ¼-inch (1 cm) thick slices
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) unbleached flour
  • 4 cups (1 L)) beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ cups (375 ml) red or white wine or 330 ml bottle dark ale or beer
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) dried thyme
  • Season with salt to taste

Topping:

  • 1/4 baguette or Country-Style loaf, sliced 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick,
  • 1 – 2 tbsp (15 – 30 ml) melted butter or olive oil to brush slices
  • 6 earthenware or ovenproof soup bowls
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) grated Swiss Gruyère cheese

1.  In heavy saucepan, melt butter with oil on medium-low heat. Add onions and cover, about 6 minutes until onions are wilted, stirring several times.  Uncover and raise heat to medium-high and continue to cook 30 minutes stirring frequently until onions are rich brown.  Stir in flour then add stock, balsamic, wine or ale and thyme, gently simmer uncovered for 40 – 45 minutes (never boil) and onions are very soft. Remove rosemary if using. Season to taste with salt.
2.The topping; check that breadslices fit neatly on top of the soup in the bowls; toast slices or bake in the oven until golden and crisp. Brush slices with melted butter.
3.  To serve, preheat oven broiler and preheat soup bowls with boiling water then empty. Ladle hot soup into the hot bowls. Top each bowl soup with toasted bread. Place grated cheese thickly on the toast. Place bowls under the broiler so bread slices are 3-inches (7 cm) from broiler. When cheese is melted and is bubbly. Serve hot.