Onion Soup Gratinée or French Onion Soup is a tasty and inexpensive winter treat. It is popular in Canada but I rarely see it on menus where I have dined out in Paris. Actually, other than Bouillabaisse and Vichyssoise, I have rarely seen soup at all on menus here.
The trick to this soup is to well caramelize the onions in order to give the soup its rich colour. Using home made beef stock is best.
Onion Soup Gratinée
45 mL (3 Tbsp) unsalted butter
3 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
200 mL (3/4 cup) dry white wine
1.5 L (3 cups) beef stock
1 branch fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
15 mL (1 Tbsp) dry sherry or cognac (optional)
12 slices of baguette
190 g (6 oz) gruyere, grated
Melt butter in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over low heat until tender and golden brown (this caramelization gives the soup its colour), about 25 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Add the thyme and season to taste with pepper. Add the beef stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the sherry or cognac and adjust the seasoning.
Toast the baguette slices under the grille until golden on both sides.
Spoon the soup into heated bowls and place the croutons on top. Sprinkle with the grated gruyere and place the bowls under a preheated grille until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.