from Jenni Neidhart
This comforting onion soup, accented with apple cider, captures the essence of fall. A melting brie crouton soaks up the delicious broth.
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. olive oil
6 yellow onions, sliced very thin
1 T. sugar
2 t. flour
1 c. apple cider
4 c. chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
sherry vinegar to taste (about 2 t.)
8 baguette slices, toasted
2 T. melted butter
8 brie slices
To make the sachet, cut a piece of cheesecloth into a small square and fold it around the thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and peppercorns. Tie the cheesecloth with some butcher’s twine, creating a little package of herbs to infuse into the broth.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the olive oil and let it heat up, then add the onions. Gently cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they start to caramelize – this can take up to 30 minutes. Add the sugar – it expedites the caramelizing process. Increase the heat slightly, scrape the bottom and get into the corners of the pot, stirring the onions constantly until they caramelize to a deep rich brown.
When the onions are nicely caramelized, add the flour and stir in thoroughly. Deglaze the pan with apple cider, scraping all the tasty browned bits off the bottom. Add the stock and sachet, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the sachet and discard it. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and sherry vinegar.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the toasted baguette croutons on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each crouton with butter and top with a slice of brie. Bake in the oven until the brie is melted and very hot, about 8-10 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into 8 bowls and top with a crouton.