The following recipe is best if made with either Vidalia onions (when in season) or large, yellow Bermuda onions. It’s fun to serve this soup in individual ovenproof crock-pots. I like to top it off with melted Gruyere, but any variety of Swiss cheese works well. This recipe is relatively fast to prepare even though it has so many ingredients … just be prepared for teary eyes!
Food Editor's Notes:
Onion soup is typically prepared with beef broth. As the laws of kashruth do not permit meat and dairy products to be eaten together, I have substituted vegetable broth for the beef broth. I use the vegetable broth recipe from The New Basics Cookbook (by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, Workman Publishing, 1989). It is rich and flavorful, low in salt, and substitutes easily in any recipe calling for chicken or beef stock. Because it has lots of pepper in it already, I do not add the ground pepper called for in the soup recipe, except at the end to taste. My family loves this soup, especially my 8-year-old, who will eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack!
3 large yellow onions
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
3 beef-flavored bouillon cubes
or 3 teaspoons beef-flavored bouillon powder (pareve)
Lots of ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 slices thinly-cut French bread per serving
1 cup shredded or 6 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese per serving, optional
Peel onions and cut them into quarters. Slice in a food processor. Heat the butter in a heavy kettle and add the onions. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring, until the onions are soft. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has caramelized and given a rich color to the onions (approximately 15 minutes). Sprinkle mixture with the flour and stir to blend for one minute. Add the wine, a little at a time, and stir. Add the broth, water, bouillon, and herbs, and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until the broth has reduced slightly. Season with cracked pepper to taste. Add salt, if necessary.
Toast bread slices. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls and float 2 slices of toast on top of each portion. Cover toast with Swiss cheese, then Parmesan. Place crocks or bowls under the pre-heated broiler (or in a 400-degree oven) until the cheese has melted and the soup is bubbly hot! Serve, carefully!
Makes 6 servings.
Sue Friedman is famous for her homemade soups and other culinary creations. She lives in Needham with her husband and three daughters. [The Food Editor's son is one of Sue's biggest fans!]