It’s time for another installment of a segment on the blog that I like to call The Candid Appetite Classics. I know, I know, it’s been so long since the last one, you’ve probably already forgotten about it. Say it ain’t so! It’s a great series, so please don’t forget about it. Hopefully you’re still interested. This post will make you a believer again. Anyhow, I digress. Yes, in this segment we explore classic dishes that all of us should have under our belt. These are the important ones. They’re easy to make without any complicated ingredients or steps. Just simple and straight to the point. I started this series last year because I wanted something that was attainable by everyone. So often I get lost in fancy complex dishes on this blog that I forget to take a step back and appreciate the small things in life. Dishes don’t have to be fancy or over the top in order to be delicious. With just a handful of ingredients, you could have the best show-stopping meal you’ve ever had. And the best part about it is that you made it, or will have made it. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make this soup.
Just in case you need a little refresher course on what some of the other classics have been, I’ll remind you. Perhaps you missed a post or one slipped right by you. Regardless of what happened, you should worry not because I’ve got your back. What are friends for? Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Bacon Cheeseburgers, Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Pie, Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream, Chili Cheese Dogs, and Strawberry Shortcakes. There’s a nice balance of everything we need in life, so be sure to pick and choose whichever you like better, or whichever you need in your life right this moment. Perhaps you need two of them or all of them. Who am I to judge? They’re here to help you out. To make you a rockstar in the kitchen.
While I’m at it, I’ll also remind you that I’ve started a hashtag for my classics posts. Follow the #TCAclassics hashtag to be in the know. I love to see the images you share so don’t be shy. Go ahead and share away. If you make any of these classic recipes, be sure to share them on social media using that tag. Even if you don’t make one of the classics, but you cook or bake up something else from the site, be sure to tag your photos with #TheCandidAppetite or #CandidAppetite. I follow both of those tags closely and whenever one of you posts something on it, I instantly fall in love with you (not in a creepy way) and get super excited and show it off to my family. It’s a big deal. All of this just to tell you that I’m very appreciative of you all. You guys are the best. I’m listening and I’m paying attention.
Start by melting an entire stick of butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Yes, you read that right. One whole stick of butter. This will add flavor to the soup, but also there are a ton of onions going into this and they need something to cook in.
Add the onions to the butter, along with the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and salt and pepper. Cook until soft, translucent and just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Stir in the red wine.
**Note: Adding red wine is crucial to this soup because it deglazing the pot, allowing you to pick up all of those browned bits at the bottom of the pot. All of that gives flavor to our soup. Use something full-bodied like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. This doesn’t have to be a super expensive bottle of wine either, but don’t go too cheap. Find a nice middle ground like 10 dollar bottle.
**Tip: Pick something out that you yourself will drink. A great rule of thumb when cooking with wine is that if you don’t like the taste of a certain wine when drinking it, then chances are you won’t like the taste when cooking with it. Go with your taste buds. They know what’s best.**
Allow the red wine to evaporate completely, making sure to continue to stir the onions frequently, to ensure that they don’t burn. Once the wine has evaporated, remove and discard the bay leaves and then stir in the flour. Continue to cook, stirring often, for another 10 minutes. Stir in the beef stock, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into small oven-safe, bowls or ramekins. We need to bake off the bread and cheese topping, so make sure that the dishes you use are oven safe.
**Note: There are such things as French Onion soup bowls, that this soup is traditionally served in. Just like the ones I used. I found mine at a thrift shop but you can find yours online, here.**
Place two thin slices of baguette on top of each bowl of soup, and then sprinkle with lots of shredded gruyere cheese.
**Note: Gruyere is the traditional cheese of choice for this soup, probably because it’s a French cheese. If you can’t get a hold of it, feel free to use Swiss, Mozzarella or Provolone!**
Place the bowls on a baking sheet and then pop the sheet under the broiler to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
**Tip: If you couldn’t find oven safe bowls, have no fear. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle the bread with cheese. Then pop under the broiler until brown and melted. Serve the soup in bowls, and top with the cheese bread crouton slices!**
Serve the soup right away because you don’t want the bread to get too soggy. Garnish with a bit of fresh thyme or chives for color.
You can make the soup a day or two in advance and keep it in the fridge until ready to eat. Just reheat on the stove and toast the bread and melt the cheese right before serving. Just like with most soups, the longer this sits, the better it will taste.
I’m so happy that it’s finally cold enough to start making and eating soup. Although, if you recall, I’ve mentioned once or twice on here that I actually grew up eating soup during the summer. For some reason my mamma would only make soup on the hottest days of the year. Till this day, I still get a craving for soup during the summer. But I know not everyone is like me, so for you normal people, this soup is here to warm your winter hearts.
I love recipes that are this simple. You don’t have to overly think about anything, and I’m all about that. Sometimes we just something quick and easy to get us through the hassle that can be cooking after a long week. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s life. Sometimes we’re tired. For days when that happens, make this soup.
Don’t forget to give these Classics a try for yourself. Remember, that they’re super easy to make and mega delicious to eat. Your family and friends will thank you for it. Don’t forget to take a picture of your dish and tag them on all social media (especially instagram) with #TCAclassics. I love seeing your images and sharing them!
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 large brown onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 cups beef stock
- 12 slices baguette
- 1½ cups shredded gruyere cheese
- Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until soft and translucent, and just beginning to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the red wine, making sure to scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Cook until the red wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and stir in the flour. Cook for about 10 minutes to cook off that raw flour taste. Stir in the beef stock. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into 6 oven safe bowls or ramekins. Place two slices of bread on top of each soup bowl. Sprinkle each with cheese and then place on a baking sheet. Pop the baking sheet under the broiler until the bread has toasted and the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh thyme before serving.