Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.
~ Carl Sandberg, poet
I absolutely cannot stand cutting onions. It's not so much the process itself, but the byproduct of the act. Big crocodile tears. Whenever I cut an onion, no matter the variety, my eyes start to burn and then uncontrollably start watering. The irony of it all lies in the fact that the very item that literally brings me to tears also gives me more satisfaction and comfort than many other foods. Onion soup is by far one of my favorite meals. The flavors are so simple, yet so bold at the same time. In my world, onion soup is always (and without exception) topped with crispy bread and good-quality cheese that ends up looking like ooey gooey ribbons from the heat of the soup. Whether having a lighthearted dinner with friends or sitting back for a quiet night in, onion soup adds a feel-good vibe to any moment that very few meals can produce. For this month's Monthly Mingle, hosted by Meeta from What's For Lunch Honey?, the theme is comfort foods. I don't really have a go-to recipe for onion soup, so decided to try a new one I found that includes a little bit of port and cooking a parmesan rind in the soup. I must say that this recipe is my new favorite and has pretty much earned itself the go-to position when it comes to onion soup. No crying here now.
Classic Onion Soup with Gruyere
from Robin Miller
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow or Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup port wine
6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth (I used 6 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base combined with 6 cups of tepid water)
1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan rind
Reserved bread from bread bowls or 4 slices sourdough baguette, about 1-inch thick and lightly toasted
8 slices Gruyere cheese
All the ingredients, just add water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and preheat broiler.
- Melt butter and oil together in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and sugar and cook 10 minutes, until onions are tender and golden brown. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt, and black pepper and stir to coat. Cook 1 minute, until fragrant. Add port and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Add broth and Parmesan rind and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and Parmesan rind and ladle soup into oven-proof bowls. Place bowls on a baking sheet. Place reserved bread rounds or a sourdough round into each bowl and top bread with Gruyere cheese. Broil 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.