Sweet French Onion Soup


1 stick unsalted butter
6 large sweet onions (such as Walla Walla, Vidalia or Maui), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
12 cups (3 quarts) homemade beef stock (chicken will do)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Madeira
1 cup dry vermouth
8 large baguette slices, toasted
1 cup grated Gruyere
1/4 cup minced Italian parsley


Melt the butter in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the onions and toss to coat. Cover and cook slowly 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the sugar to the onions, increase the heat to medium, and cook uncovered until onions are caramelized, very tender and dark golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Note: During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir the onions almost constantly to avoid sticking.
Add the salt, pepper, thyme and half of the the stock. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the remaining stock, Madeira and vermouth. Cover and simmer over medium-low for 30 to 40 minutes to fully develop the flavor. Taste for salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the baguette slices generously with cheese and broil until fully melted.
To Serve:
Ladle the onion soup into individual bowls and top each serving with a gooey cheese toast and a sprinkle of parsley.


As the weather starts to cool off, I find that I'm actually delighted at the idea of socks and sweaters and steaming bowls of long-simmered dishes.I came up with this somewhat simplified version of classic French onion soup to satisfy my new found longing for those unctuous, slow cooked flavors. This soup certainly isn't "instant". But as long as you start with great broth, it's relatively quick-ish, and packed with flavor. With the addition of a salad of apple, walnuts and bitter greens, this is a cost- effective (okay, cheap) and satisfying dinner that showcases the candy-sweetness of Walla Wallas one more time before their season tails out. Serve with: Nero d'Avola or Red Ale


12 cups, about 8 servings


Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 4:42pm


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