"Riding back to Paris in the dead of night, and very hungry, Louis XIV and his party stopped at one of his many palaces for something to eat. They could find nothing except…….onions, Champagne, and butter. Thus was born "onion soup":—a good way to use up your leftover Champagne." - The Dione Lucas Book of French Cooking, p. 160
Don't you love it?! Soooooooo, I have made this forever, but this time I wanted to jazz my onion soup up a bit. I always use Dione Lucas' recipe, so I am going to give you her recipe and add in my adaptation: a small grilled cheese sandwich "crouton" at the bottom—a double dose of melting cheese because there is more on top!
Scrumptious. Oh, and I add a splash of Cognac or brandy. Instead of Champagne, I use dry white wine. And instead of potato flour, I use all-purpose flour.
If you have little onion soup crocks with handles, you will have a true French bistro dish!
(Adapted from Dione Lucas. Yields 4 servings)
French Onion Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
- 2 pounds onions, peeled
- 4 tablespoons sweet butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 8 slices baguette, thinly slice
- 8 slices Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sweet butter, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons Cognac or brandy
- 1 cup freshly grated Swiss cheese
- Cut the onions in half and then in 1/2 inch slices.
- In a large heavy pan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Put in the sliced onions and brown them slowly, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. As soon as they are translucent, add in the sugar, which will help them brown. When the onions are a rich, golden brown, stir in, off the heat, the flour, beef stock, and white wine.
- Add salt and pepper and thyme leaves.
- Return to the heat, and bring to a boil. Reserve.
- Trim a slice of Gruyere cheese to fit on a slice of baguette, top with another slice of baguette, and butter each side. Repeat this until you have 4 small cheese sandwiches.
- Grill the sandwiches until they are golden brown.
- Fit one small grilled cheese sandwich at the bottom of each bowl.
- Pour 1 teaspoon Cognac or brandy on top of each sandwich.
- Ladle in enough onion soup into each bowl to fill.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese on top of each bowl and run under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve!
Here is a visual progression of how the recipe develops:
Little grilled cheese sandwiches, using a baguette and Gruyere cheese.
One at the bottom of each bowl, add 1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy, then ladle soup to the top, sprinkle with cheese, and run under the broiler. So good!