What’s your fave way to eat butter? Melty with crab luxuriously dipped in it? Spread without remorse over a perfectly toasted slice of sourdough? Browned and tossed with linguine? Yep, all of it. Me, too. But today, I like my butter in a caramelized pot of onions and a copious amount of red wine. With burn-y cheese-topped croissant slices, and in soup form.
You may or may not know how I feel about soup, or how I think it belongs in its own section of the food pyramid (next to burritos), or how it’s the most giving and perfect food to share love. It’s humble, yet luxurious and deserves all of the time it needs to absorb and permeate the smell of good intention.
This soup has few ingredients, each one requiring a little bit of time and attention to ultimately create a chorus in your mouth. I suggest goggles (for the onion slicing), Van Morrison in the background, and maybe some socks so you can slide around the kitchen from cutting board to soup pot.
1/2 cup salted butter
5 medium onions, thinly sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, smooshed then sliced
1 Tbs. flour
1 pinch of thyme (dried or from a sprig of fresh)
1 cup red wine (I like Cab Sauv)
1 1/2 quarts (48oz) Beef bone broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette or 3 croissants, sliced on the diagonal
1 1/2 cups Gruyere, shredded
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and a generous scatter of salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate all party-goers. Set the timer for 30 minutes and let those spicy babes mellow out, stirring every few minutes. After about 15 minutes, you’ll notice browning edges and crusties in the bottom of the pot. An obvious time to lick the spoon, right? It’s like candy. After the 30 minutes, your onion mixture will be dark brown and so beautiful. Most liquid will be absorbed. Now, sprinkle your flour and thyme over the mixture and stir, letting it absorb and cook off, 1 to 2 minutes. This will thicken your onions up a bit more. Slowly add the wine, and bring the heat up to medium high to get a solid boil. Once bubbly, lower to medium low and set the timer for 10-15 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes, scraping the tiddle-y bits from the bottom. Your mixture should be thick and deep brown and the aroma will be inviting. Increase heat again to medium high and slowly pour beef broth in, stirring into the onion mixture. Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Once bubbling, reduce to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice your baguette or croissants on the diagonal, about an inch thick. Lay slices on a cookie sheet and sprinkle generously with the Gruyere. Broil on the top rack until golden and melty.
Ladle your soup into bowls and float your cheese bread on top. Serve hot and enjoy.