I’ve been to France, and have to say I enjoyed much of the country & cuisine there. To be honest, I fell hardest for the most stereotypical dish one could think of—a savory bowl of French onion soup. Maybe the soup was my favorite because this was my first time ordering it (better late than never). I have no good reason, other than something always seemed unappealing about plain onions in broth. Well, until I finally had some—It’s DELICIOUS!
Since my soup epiphany, I’ve sampled a myriad of versions state-side, with mixed reviews. I don’t crave soup often when it’s hot outside, though recently I’ve been buying a surplus of sweet summer onions. As luck would have it, Vidalia onions are making their coveted appearance on the West Coast, hooray! Being that I’m a Georgia girl by birth (and heart), I love a good Vidalia. In fact, when my family moved to CA, the parentals would have these precious veggies shipped-in! Vidalias are solely grown in Georgia and unparalleled in flavor—sweet & mild. They’re the original ‘sweet onion’ variety, and if you’ve yet to sample one—you’ll be hooked. Only during late spring & summer is this seasonal crop available, so I’ve been cooking with them constantly.
If the onions weren’t inspiration enough, I was recently gifted a cooking torch (jackpot)! Looking to test it out on something other than my candles, this soup came to mind.
Now we have an obscene amount of onions & a can of butane—let’s get this Parisian party started!
- 5 Vidalia onions, peeled (or sweet white onions, medium size)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 quart beef stock (one 32 oz carton)
- 1 cup white wine (dry, I used a Chardonnay)
- ½ tsp white sugar
- 3T flour
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- sea salt & coarse black pepper to taste
- 1 French baguette, sliced into thin rounds (for making croute to top)
- 8 oz shredded Gruyère cheese (~2 oz per serving, on croute to top)
- *small cooking torch to broil cheese on top, optional.
- Slice onions into thin slices, separating out segments (slicing onions in half vertically, then slicing into thin shreds is easiest, or using a mandolin).
- In a large dutch oven or soup pot, melt 1 stick butter, add chopped garlic & onions, ½ cup of the white wine, & pinch of sea salt, tossing & spreading out into a layer.
- Allow onions to cook over medium-low to caramelize, for about 30-40 mins, stirring every 10 mins or so (onions are done when they are a rich golden color & very soft).
- To onions on low, sprinkle with the 3T of flour, stir & slowly add other ½ cup white wine, stirring constantly to incorporate, and then add bay leaf and sprigs of fresh thyme (these will be discarded later).
- Return the heat to medium, add pinch ground black pepper & salt to taste. and gradually stir-in beef stock 1//2 cup at a time (add ~1/2 carton).
- Let pot come to a low boil then simmer uncovered on stove for 15 mins, stirring occasionally.
- As soup simmers, slice baguette into thin rounds (depending on baguette size, 3-4 rounds/bowl of soup to top & make broiled crouton).
- If soup is desired thickness, no need to add remainder of beef stock, though if you’d like yours thinner or with more liquid vs onion ratio (the bread topping will absorb additionally), then add more stock.
- In oven briefly toast baguette slices for a few minutes to crisp/harden.
- Dish-out individual ramekins or bowls with soup, top with crisped baguette slices, enough to cover top in a single layer, and sprinkle with ~2+ ounces shredded Gruyère cheese on top of baguette slices.
- Using a torch, melt (broil) cheese over top of bread/soup so it’s bubbly & slightly browning (without torch, place oven safe bowls under broiler for a couple of mins, or in a high-heat oven for several until cheese is bubbly).
- Garnish with a few fresh thyme leaves & serve immediately, hot.
This recipe takes more time to prep than actually cook. Though slicing onions is the least desirable task, with Vidalias so sweet you won’t shed a tear (unless you get crazy with the butane). Traditional French onion soup is served gratinéed (topped with a big, hot, cheesy crouton) and that’s where our torch came in handy, to melt the Gruyère. You can also broil the cheese & bread directly on the soup’s top, in your oven. I love how the caramelized onions pair with the salty beef base. Our toasted baguette soaks-up all of this flavor, and the bubbly cheese lends just enough richness. I knew this would happen! Even though it’s almost 90 degrees over here, now I want a hot bowl of soup!
Whether or not you’re new to Vidalias, French onion, or torches—I think you too will find this a favorite.
Bon appétit mes amis!Pin It