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French Onion Soup

A restaurant classic made with a special twist thanks to some Bavarian cheese.

French Onion Soup
Subtle hints of blue cheese are the perfect umami accent to a savory beef broth packed with sweet onions.

French onion soup is the ideal comfort food, whether it's dinner for one or serving a crowd at the holidays. There are two key factors to a truly great French onion soup: gorgeous, caramelized onions with tremendous depth of flavor, and glorious, gooey cheese atop a buttery and crisp floating crouton. Briette Creamy & Blue cheese is such a sophisticated upgrade to the usual Gruyere garnish. Thanks to a smooth and delicate texture with just a whisper of blue, this fine cheese (free of preservatives and specially packed for peak freshness) pairs effortlessly with the rich beef broth and caramelized onions. Small in size and round in shape, each Briette is perfect for two when sliced in half and swims beautifully in a bowl, making for a stunning presentation!

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; measuring spoons; large wet measuring cup; Dutch oven or large pot with tight-fitting lid; wooden spoon; ladle; rimmed sheet pan; butter knife; (6) ovenproof soup bowls or crocks

Soup Ingredients:

4 large Vidalia onions

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or rendered beef fat

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 4 sprigs of fresh thyme 8 cups beef broth or fortified beef stock

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter, softened

6 slices sourdough or baguette, about ½-inch thick

3 Briette Creamy & Blue, each sliced in half crosswise

2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

ILOC tip: for an intensified depth of flavor and color, prepare fortified beef stock in advance of preparing this recipe. You'll not only have some rendered beef fat as a result in which to sauté the onions, but you'll have a restaurant-quality soup to enjoy!

1. First, prepare the onions. Trim each onion of its tip and root, remove the skin, and discard. Slice each onion half lengthwise, from top to bottom (tip to root). Lay each onion half flat side-down on the cutting board and thinly slice lengthwise from tip to root. This should yield about 12 cups, or more, of onion slices. Set aside.

ILOC tip: it's imperative to slice the onions lengthwise and not crosswise so that they caramelize properly.

2. Add the butter and oil/beef fat to a Dutch oven. Set the heat to medium-high. Once the fat butter has melted and the fat is bubbling, add the onions and immediately toss well to coat with the fat. Sprinkle generously with salt and stir well to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for five minutes until the onions have sweat and softened.

3. Remove the lid and stir the onions for a minute or two. Then let the onions cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes at a time before scraping the bottom and side of the pan to return the caramelized browned bits back to the onions. Repeat this process half a dozen times or more until the onions are a deep golden brown, approximately 35-45 minutes.

4. Once the onions reach the desired color and consistency, add the apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Pour in the beef stock and add the thyme sprigs. Season the soup with some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return the soup to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

"The cider vinegar and Worcestershire add a little extra umami punch to a dish built with layers of flavor and texture."

5. While the soup simmers, prepare the cheese croutons. Toast the bread slices and spread with the 2 tablespoons softened butter (1 teaspoon per slice of toast). Slice each Briette in half and place one half atop each buttered toast, sliced side-up (rind side-down).

6. Set the oven rack in position and turn the oven to broil. Place the ovenproof bowls on a rimmed sheet pan. Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

7. Ladle soup within ½-inch of the soup bowl rims. Top each filled bowl with a cheese crouton. Place the sheet pan in the oven under the broiler for 1-3 minutes, checking every 30 seconds to make sure the cheese is melting and bubbling, but not burning.

8. Once the cheese has melted and turned a golden brown, remove the sheet pan from the oven. Top each bowl with chopped parsley and serve immediately, but very carefully!

Makes 6 servings.

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