French Onion Soup

Food Recipes by Lisë Stern, Photo by Kindra Clineff / October, 2016

The allium family is well represented here: Spanish onions, red onions, shallots, scallions, and garlic make for a full-flavored soup. Beef broth is traditional; use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version. Executive Chef Julie Cutting says, “Onions must cook slowly and become evenly browned. This process is slow. Do not brown too fast or use high heat.”

Adapted from Cure Restaurant
Makes 8 servings

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
2 red onions, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup finely chopped fresh thyme
3 quarts beef broth
2 cups brewed coffee
1 cup sherry
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 French baguette
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 pound Swiss cheese cut into 16 slices

1. Heat butter and 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add both kinds of onions, shallots, scallions, garlic, and fresh thyme and stir well to mix. Cook until onions start to become golden and caramelize, 30 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Add the broth, coffee, and sherry. Simmer until the onions are very tender and the flavors are well combined, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 325°F. While soup simmers, cut the baguette into large cubes. In a large bowl, toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the dried thyme. Spread out on a large baking sheet and bake until crunchy, about 7 to 10 minutes.
4. To serve, divide soup among 8 oven-safe bowls. Top each with croutons. Lay 2 slices of Swiss cheese over the croutons in each bowl and place under broiler until golden brown. If no broiler is available, place crocks on a baking sheet and place in 500°F oven until cheese is melted and brown. The bowls will be very hot. Use oven mitts and place on individual plates for serving.