Today was a classic cold and grey California winter day. It left Ben and I in need of soup for lunch… About 2 seconds after that decision was made, Issa texted asking if I knew how to make French onion soup. (Twin!) I promised Issa I’d find a recipe and test it out for her tonight, so while Ben headed out to purchase a quick fix (tomato soup) for our lunch, I cleared some dinosaurs off the couch and sat down with a pile of cookbooks. I found two recipes right off the bat. One was called ‘classic French onion soup’ and the second was called ‘onion and bread soup’. I opted for the simpler ‘onion and bread soup’ with a few modifications.
1/4 cup Butter
6 Sweet Yellow Onions
6 cups Beef Broth*
Salt and Pepper
Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a large stock pot over low heat. While the butter melts, thinly slice the onions.Add the onions to the pot once the butter is melted. Cook slowly over medium low heat, stirring frequently. The goal is to caramelize the onions–you want them lightly colored and soft. You may want to add a teaspoon of sugar once the onions are soft to help bring out the sweet flavor. Once they are a nice golden color (about 30 to 45 minutes) add 2 tablespoons of fresh basil and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Next, add in the beef broth and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, slice the bread and grate the cheese. Since we don’t have oven proof bowls, I modified the finish a bit. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and lay the bread slice flat. Top each with a generous helping of cheese. Toast in the oven (350 degrees) or under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly golden around the edges. If using the broiler, keep and eye on it because it goes fast!
Before serving, season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, fills bowls with soup and top with cheese toast, extra cheese and a little sprinkling of chopped basil.
*The original recipe called for vegetable stock. Beef makes a heartier soup in my opinion. And I like the flavor better.