French Onion Soup with Pepperjack Croutons

I love French Onion Soup.  If I had to pick one soup to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it.  It’s sweet, it’s tasty and how can you go wrong when you add bread and loads of cheese?  Seriously, this is it for me.  The end all, be all of soup.

I was contacted by a local follower of Farmgirl Gourmet asking if I’d be interested in some Walla Walla Sweet onions.  Well “heck ya” I thought.  I love onions.  Love them.  So we made plans to meet at my house since she was planning to be in the area.  When she handed me the bag of these giant beauties I about fainted.  They were gigantic, perfect orbs of onion goodness.  How awesome is that?  The onions I grew this year were small and so I blew through them in no time flat.  What a treat to be presented with these giants.

Terri is a local farmer and she also does floral design for weddings and events.  You should check out her site at Coulee Creek Florals.  She’s one talented lady….and a sweetheart onion gifter!  :)

So now that I had these amazing onions, I had to figure out what to do with them.  French Onion soup came top of mind.  This recipe is uber easy, but does take some time, so you’ll need to be around to stir occasionally for 4 hours.  So make it on Sunday while you’re hanging out watching the football games.

Start off with a tablespoon of butter in a large dutch oven.

Next add in 4-5 large onions and 2 large shallots and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and a few dashes of black pepper (or 8-9 medium onions and 4-5 shallots).  The pot will be filled to the gills with onions and this is just fine, they cook down considerably in a short time.  Give them a good stir to coat with the butter then put on the lid, turn it down to medium low and go watch the football game for a while.  You’ll want to stir every 20 or 30 minutes and make sure it’s not burning.  The onions will start to release a lot of water, don’t fret, it will all cook down.

This is what the onions look like after 4 hours of caramelizing!  Amazing how an entire pot of onions can now be so minimal, but don’t discount the amazing complexity of flavor this small amount of onions will have.  Mmmm!

Turn up the heat to high and add in 7 cups of water, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar.  Bring it to a boil and then taste for salt and pepper.  Mine needed about another teaspoon of salt.  But I like my salt.  Once the seasoning is right, it’s ready for ladling into bowls.

Top with baguette that’s been toasted in the oven for about 20 minutes.  This creates a good crust on the bread so it doesn’t absorb all of the soup and become mushy.  Top with 1/3 cup of cheese (I used pepperjack) like Gruyere or swiss and pop under the broiler for about 1 minute or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove and serve immediately.

French Onion Soup with Pepperjack Croutons

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

A French classic recipe for French Onion Soup kicked up with spicy pepperjack croutons.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 10 cups sliced onions, preferably sweet onions (about 8-10 medium sized)
  • 2 cups sliced shallots, about 4-5
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • baguette slices
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (gruyere, pepperjack, swiss)

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large heavy dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions, shallots and salt and stir to combine. Cover with the lid and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook the onions for 4 hours, stirring occasionally so they don't burn. Turn down the heat if they are cooking too quickly. The onions will release a lot of water and this is OK, continue to let them cook until they are a deep golden brown in color and reduced to a thin layer on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, toast baguette slices on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Once the onions are a deep golden brown, turn the heat up to high and add the water, red wine and vinegar. Stir to incorporate and bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into 4 bowls, top with the toasted baguette slices and 1/2 cup cheese on each. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove immediately and serve.
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