My French Onion Soup Haiku
hot bubbling crock
onions, beef broth, Gruyere cheese
melting down the sides …
When I am craving classic comfort food, a signature lunchtime staple comes to mind: French Onion Soup.
The origin of onion soups can be traced all the way back to ancient Roman times. (Reinforcing my belief that all good food originates in Italy!) “French Onion Soup,” the version that combined beef broth with caramelized onions, originated in France in the 8th Century. This soup became popular in the United States in the 1960s, when the nation experienced a surge in French cooking. This trend was due to the publishing of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in 1962.
French Onion Soup is still wildly popular in restaurants across the U.S. today. It is usually served with croutons or bread and melted Gruyere cheese, which is to many people, the best part. Authentic Gruyere cheese, however, is not really French. It is Swiss, named after the town of Gruyeres in Switzerland. The French versions of Gruyere cheese are Comte and Beauford. A notable difference between the two is that in accordance with French law, French Gruyere cheese has holes in it, whereas Swiss Gruyere does not. Gruyere cheese has a salty, nutty flavor and is oven creamy.
I love to order French onion soup for lunch in restaurants on snowy days. There’s nothing like breaking open that golden cheesy crust that engulfs the crock of the hot onion broth. What’s even better is the little slice of heaven that is tucked under the cheese: the baguette. It’s love at first bite.
You don’t have to go to a restaurant to experience this soup – it’s easy to make in the comfort of your own home. If you have broth, onions, and some red wine in your pantry, you’re all set! This recipe is rich and flavorful. I substituted 2% Swiss cheese slices instead of the Gruyere to drastically cut down on the cost of the soup, as well as the calorie and fat content without sacrificing any flavor. The buttery, cheesy and crunchy comforting goodness of this soup is hard to resist on a cold winter’s night!
Fairytale French Onion Soup
4 large onions
2 tablespoons of butter
6 cups of beef broth (you can use chicken if you don’t have it but beef gives a heartier flavor)
1/2 cup of red wine
2 bay leafs
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together.
Pam cooking spray
2 sourdough rolls or French baguette
Kraft 2% Swiss Cheese Slices (8 slices)
Salt and pepper
Peel and cut onions in 1/4 inch slices. Melt the butter in a dutch oven. Add the onions, sprinkle with some salt, and cook down over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and have some color, at least 10 minutes. (You want them to be soft and tender, not completely caramelized.) Add the broth, wine, bay leaves, and thyme. Simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the rolls into 3/4 inch slices and spray with Pam butter cooking spray. Place under the broiler and lightly brown each side.
When soup is ready, remove the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Ladle soup into 4 crocks/soup ramekins. Top with toasted bread and 2 slices of Swiss cheese. Bake at 425 degrees or until cheese is melted and bubbling. (You can use the broiler if necessary for two minutes.)