French onion soup, those little pots of slow-simmered onions and bubbling cheese, warms our bellies on cold autumn days. While I’ll always have a place on my table, in my belly and in my heart for other favorite cold weather soups like curried lentil soup, and slowcooker chicken soup.
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I make it frequently in winter – combining the mountains of onions we purchase in bulk each autumn from regional farms with homemade beef stock (though, if I’m lucky enough to have it, I prefer using pasture-raised veal stock). I float a thin slice of day-old no-knead sourdough bread in the fragrant soup, top it with a smattering of Gruyere cheese, bake it and serve it with another winter staple: homemade sauerkraut.
Classic French Onion Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon tallow
- 1 pound yellow onions (peeled and sliced thin)
- ¾ pound red onions (peeled and sliced thin)
- ¼ pound shallots (peeled and sliced thin)
- 1 teaspoon finely ground real salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked black peppercorns
- 1 ½ quarts beef bone broth
- 1 cup white wine
- 4 slices sourdough bread
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese (shredded)
- Melt the tallow in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, then stir in onions and shallots. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in salt. Cover and sweat the alliums, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent – about 10 minutes.
- While the alliums sweat, tie bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns together in a piece of cheesecloth or a small muslin bag, and add it to the pot. Stir in beef stock and wine, then simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes or until the stock is reduced by ⅓.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Ladle into oven-proof soup bowls. Top with a piece of day-old sourdough bread and 1 ounce shredded Gruyere cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then serve.