Well, it’s finally snowed in Cleveland, and snow calls for one thing, and one thing only: a piping hot bowl of soup. There is nothing more comforting than a big bowl French onion soup, with sweet and tender caramelized onions, salty crunchy croutons and an ooey gooey layer of cheese. This recipe is a great way to spend a snow day at home, as it is very time consuming. But trust me, its well worth the effort and love.
1/2 large French baguette
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 large vidalia onions, sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced lengthwise
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups vegetable stock
cracked black pepper to taste
thinly sliced Gruyere cheese
To make the croutons:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Cut up baguette into 1-inch cubes and let sit out to dry for 30 minutes to an hour. Toss the croutons in olive oil and half of the parmesan cheese and spread evenly on a sheet pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the croutons and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway through, until they are firm and golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Croutons can be made up to three days in advance.
To make the soup:
Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add onions, thyme (leaves will fall off the sprigs during the cooking process), bay leaf and salt. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring frequently, until onions are tender, sweet and golden brown.
Add flour and stir for two minutes. Add wine and stir for another two minutes. Add water, vegetable stock and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes, until flavors are well combined. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Preheat broiler and ladle soup into oven-safe bowls. Top with enough croutons to cover the surface area of the soup and lay thin slices of Gruyere cheese on top of croutons. Broil soup in oven until cheese is golden and bubbly, 3-4 minutes. Soup will be very hot!