French Onion Soup

Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch

This soup recipe was created exclusively to pair with a bottle of 2007 Oyster Ridge by Ancient Peaks Winery. The wine is billowing with dark fruit, tobacco and just a hint of eucalyptus. It's so lush, with such a smooth and silky finish, you might actually want more than just one bottle. I did. When I first tasted Public Domain Coffee, I was excited to do something special with it. The organically grown coffee is so bright and sweet, and with a slightly savory finish, the coffee is as unique as it is tasty. Enjoy!

Prep time: 5 minutes  

Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes  

Vegetarian French Onion Soup (Made with Coffee)


  • 4 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups sodium-free vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Public Domain Coffee
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Several bread slices
  • Dash salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking directions
  1. In a large stock pot, add the thinly sliced onions and some olive oil. You want just enough olive oil to lightly coat them.adding sliced onions to pot
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the onions down, caramelizing them. Only stir them every 5 minutes. If they begin to burn instead of caramelizing, reduce the heat a bit. Caramelizing onions is really a balancing act between your burner (electric or gas) and the quality of your stock pot.
  3. Once the onions have been reduced, add the vegetable broth. I prefer sodium-free broth so I have more control over the flavor. I use unsalted butter for the same reason.
  4. Add the thyme, white wine and sugar. Bring the mixture to a very low simmer and cook covered for about three hours (or until you cannot stand it anymore). Stirring occasionally.
  5. Now, here's where things gets interesting. While that simmers, brew a single cup of your favorite coffee. I used a cup of Kenya AA Kiandu from Public Domain Coffee. (The coffee grower was 2011's Good Food Award winner. Paul Thornton, of Coffee Bean International, started the company back in 1972.)
  6. Add the cup of coffee to the soup in small batches, stir well and taste. You don't want your soup to taste like coffee, you just want to enhance the flavor. Depending on how strong you brew yours, you might not use a full cup. Then salt and pepper the soup to taste. Cooked onions for French Onion Soup
  7. For each serving, fill a ramekin with heaping amount of soup and place in large baking dish. French Onion Soup bread slices
  8. You'll need one bread slice for every ramekin, with the crust cut off.bread on French Onion Soup
  9. Place bread on top of ramekin and give it a good shove. Remember, this isn't the time to be tidy. cheese placement on French Onion Soup
  10. Top the ramekins with a slice of cheese. Heck, use two. You can never have enough cheese. bubbly French Onion Soup
  11. Broil for just a few minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Seriously, how yummy does that look? I lived off this soup for about a week after making this recipe and the photographs still make me hungry. Mmm mmm, good.

enjoying French Onion Soup

This story was originally written for Treehugger. Copyright 2011.