ARTISANAL'S FRENCH ONION SOUP
Adapted from Artisanal restaurant, where we serve our version of a number of bistro classics, this onion soup achieves its
distinction with four members of the onion family (Spanish onion, red oinoin, shallots, and leeks) and four different cheeses.
I like to be deliberately sloppy when preparing this soup, arranging the cheese so that it really piles up on top of the bowl
and spills over the edge when it melts. When it cools, you can break off the hardened cheese,
(the French call it croûte) and eat it.
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8 slices French baguette, 1/4 inch thick
1 clove garlic, end cut off and discarded
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups thinly sliced Spanish onions (from about 2 medium onions, thinly sliced)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red onions (from about 3 medium onions)
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, well rinsed, medium dice
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup sherry
4 cups light beef stock
For the herb sachet (tie all in a cheesecloth bundle)
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Black pepper in a mill
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Gruyere (from about 2 1/2 ounces cheese)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Beaufort (from about 2 1/2 ounces cheese)*
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Emmenthaler (from about 2 1/2 ounces cheese)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (from about 2 1/2 ounces cheese)
*FreshDirect Note: For this recipe, we've elected to use Comté in place of
|Preheat the oven to 325°F. Put the baguette slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake
in the oven until crisp-hard and dark golden-brown, approximately 5 minutes. Rub both sides of the bread slices
with the exposed tip of the garlic clove. Set aside. |
|Pour the canola oil into a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot and warm it over medium heat. Add the Spanish
onions, red onions, shallots, and leeks and cook, stirring every few minutes, until deeply caramelized to a dark
amber brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Pour in the wine and sherry and stir to scrape up any crusty bits cooked onto the
bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine is reduced by two-thirds, 8 to 10 minutes.|
|Pour in the stock and add the herb sachet. Bring the stock to a boil over high heat, then lower the
heat and let simmer until the onions loose their texture, 35 to 45 minutes. Discard the herb sachet, squeezing any
liquid back into the pot, stir in the sherry vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The soup
can be made to this point, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reaheat before proceeding, bringing the soup
to a boil.|
|If continuing or when soup is reheated, in a bowl, stir together the Gruyère, Beaufort, and
|Position a rack 4 inches from the heating element of the broiler and preheat the boiler.
Put four 8-ounce ovenproof soup crocks on a ssturdy cookie sheet or baking pan. Divide the hot soup among the
crocks, filling them just high enough to allow the croutons to be flush with the top of the crock. Float 2 croutons
on the surface of the soup in each bowl. Divide the grated cheese mixture among the 4 crocks ans sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano over them.
|Put the sheet under the broiler and cool until the cheese is bubbly and golden, approximately 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the sheet from the oven and serve.|
In the summer we make a lighter version of this soup, replacing half of the beef stock with chicken stock.