The secret to good onion soup is stacking flavors into a harmonious whole, cooking each element as you go. Beer and cheese also helps.
Prep time:20 minutes
Total time:1 hour
Yield:4 to 6
French Onion Soup with Toasted Bread
2 tablespoonsolive oil
4yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
1shallot, sliced thin
1 tablespoonbrown sugar
4 tablespoonsbalsamic vinegar
2 sprigsthyme, chopped fine, plus extra sprigs for optional garnish
28 ouncesvegetable broth
12 ouncespale beer, lager or pilsner
1 teaspooncooking sherry
1 tablespoonkosher salt
1 tablespoonblack pepper
1/2baguette, sliced thin
1 cupshredded cheese, Gruyere, cheddar, parmesan
Combine butter and olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Heat until butter foams, about 2 minutes. Add onions and shallot. Saute until onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add flour, brown sugar, vinegar and thyme. Stir until ingredients begin to bubble, about 4 minutes. Add sherry, salt, pepper and paprika. Add broth and beer. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and cover. Allow soup to simmer.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut baguette into thin wedges, place on baking sheet and toast. Remove from oven when crisp, about 6 minutes. Place half the slices in the bottom of oven-safe bowls and add soup. Top with more bread and shredded cheese. Set oven to broil. Place bowls on a baking dish and place in oven about 3 minutes. Remove when cheese turns golden brown.