French onion soup, I’ve found, is an incredibly elaborate, time-consuming thing to make and calls for vermouth, a delicious but expensive ingredient that pretty much no one I know keeps on hand. Here’s my pared-down spin on it.
Oh, and traditionalists, save your breath. I realize this isn’t exactly how you make French onion soup. That’s why I’m not calling it French Onion Soup. :-)
1/2 lb cippolini onions, peeled, ends removed
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cups vegetable, chicken or beef broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
4-6 whole fresh sage leaves
1/4 sourdough baguette, sliced on the bias (about 8 slices)
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place peeled onions on a baking sheet and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from oven (keep the oven on—you’ll be using it again) and let cool until onions can be handled comfortably. Slice roasted onions thinly.
Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the sliced roasted onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until very fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Slowly add the broth, stirring as you go. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low to simmer. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
While soup cooks, spread the baguette slices onto a baking sheet (the one you used for the onions is fine—no need to clean it first). Drizzle the slices with olive oil and bake for 6-8 minutes or until crisp (check them periodically to make sure they don’t burn).
Remove lid and whisk in half-and-half. Cook uncovered for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally or until soup has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
While soup cooks, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves and cook just until crisp, 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan using tongs and drain on paper towels until ready to use.
Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls and top each bowl with 3-4 baguette slices (break them to fit them into the bowl if you need to). Top the baguettes with the Gruyere cheese.
Preheat the broiler to high and place soup bowls underneath the flame. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Top soup bowls with the crispy sage and serve immediately.
BrokeAss Gourmet caters to folks who want to live the high life on the cheap, with delicious recipes that are always under $20. Gabi Moskowitz is the blog’s editor in chief and author of The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious Unexpected Recipes.