We love onion soup. This version of onion soup has apple and apple cider added, as well as 2 different broths. It is yummy and warming and slightly sweet, and a bit savory. And best of all, it is great made ahead and reheated. I do love when there is that thin coating of ice on the trees. It has a magical quality, unless of course, you have to go out in the cold. The magic disappears quickly then. But, today is a soup day. Our favorite onion soup is the recipe I’ve been making for years, Famous Barr’s Onion Soup. Famous, as the locals called it, (sadly now closed) was a St. Louis-based department store that was known for this onion soup. It is truly delicious. This has some of the properties of Famous’s soup, but I decided that apple (I’ve made it with pear, as well) would be an interesting addition, particularly with shredded cheddar cheese.
Laurentian Onion Soup
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 lbs sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or savory leaves
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups beef stock (add more of either stock if needed)
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups bread cubes (sour dough is lovely), toasted
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar or Gruyère*
- Cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)
- Thyme sprigs
*You may use pieces of Brie or a sharp bleu veined cheese mixed with the cheddar.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot set over medium heat. Add bay leaf and onions; cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until caramelized. Add apple, garlic, maple syrup and thyme; cook for 5 minutes or until the apple begins to break up. Add the flour and paprika; stir into the onion mixture and cook for 2 minutes (this is a roux that will thicken the soup slightly). Add the broths, wine, and apple cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and lots of black pepper. Preheat broiler.
Divide soup between 6 oven-proof bowls. Top with toasted croutons and equal amounts of cheese and bacon, if using. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese melts and lightly browns. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme and serve.
Laurentian Onion Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
This is basically a pretty easy soup, but it takes patience to caramelize the onions. It will take about 30 to 45 minutes over very low heat. You start out with this mound of sliced onions, and you end up with about 1/4 of what you started with. But, they will be brown and sweet. The key to caramelizing onions, is low heat and when you add them to the butter, LEAVE THEM ALONE. The best way to know when they’ve finished releasing their juices, is to listen. You’ll hear a sizzle (it may take up to 5 minutes before you hear the magic) and this is when you need to stir now and again.
This is about half way through and I’ve added the apples and garlic.
This is the sublime caramelized stage. This is onion soup Nirvana. Goddesses know about Nirvana!
You’ll add the flour to the at this stage, stir it in well, and then add the broth. You’ve made a roux and when the broth is added, there will be no lumps, because you’ve coated the flour with fat. I use 2 different types of broth, as I like the more complex flavor, but that’s not necessary; use what you have on hand. You can use either red or white wine and apple cider. Today I used Stella Artois Cidre; it’s dry and apple-ly, but use apple cider, if that’s what you have. Soup is very much about what you have on hand. To be perfectly honest, rarely do I use a soup recipe. I have tons of them, but I use them more as guide lines. Soup is flexible.
One of the other changes I’ve made is that I don’t float a piece of French bread on top, under the cheese. I prefer toasted croutons, because the soup much easier to eat.
Today I’m serving The Latin Lover, who loves onions soup, Butt-Crack Rolls on the side. These creative little puffs came to my attention from Neighbor Ann. She is incredibly creative, a wonderful cook and she has a terrific sense of humor. What’s not to love? She also happens to make a fantastic all-natural laundry soap, that once you’ve used it, there’s no going back! The Middle Child, he’s all about texture, always feels like he want to stick his finger into the jar and lick it clean. The soap has a sort of smooth, frosting-like quality about it and it smells like the outdoors. And these little rolls are her genius. She used frozen bread dough, cut it in small pieces then rolled them into balls, dropped 2 rolls into each oiled 1/2 cup canning jars, let them raise until almost doubled, then popped them into a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Before baking, she topped them with some rosemary and I sprinkled these with some coarse salt, Fleur de Sel, to be exact. Serve them hot, but watch the jars, as they hold the heat like the hinges of Hell. The Latin Lover practically removed the fingerprints on one hand, so be careful. You will be able to just lift the rolls right out of the jar, if you wish. Aren’t they cute?
So that’s it for today. I just want to remind you that I won’t bombard you daily with postings. I will post about 2 or 3 times a week. I think that allows for you to actually have time to cook and that’s what this is all about. Soup’s on and The Lover is hungry.