Bistro onion soup

To streamline traditional onion soup, we eliminated the need for home-made beef stock and time-consuming caramelized onions. Instead, in this lighter-tasting version, we've used canned chicken broth and cut the onion cooking time by nearly half. Plus, it's even better if made a few days ahead.
Bistro onion soup
Bistro onion soup

PREP TIME

25

minutes

TOTAL TIME

85

minutes

SERVINGS

12

cups

PREP TIME

25

minutes

TOTAL TIME

85

minutes

SERVINGS

12

servings

Ingredients

  • 1

    cup (250 mL) crumbled Stilton cheese

  • 1/2

    cup (125 mL) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

  • 1/2

    tsp (2 mL) dry mustard powder

  • 1

    large bay leaf (optional)

  • 1/2

    tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper

  • 1-1/2

    tsp (7 mL) dried leaf thyme

  • 1/3

    cup (75 mL) port or dry sherry (optional)

  • 355 ml can or bottle of beer, preferably lager, or 1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine

  • 10

    oz (284 mL) can beef broth

  • 3

    (10-oz/284-mL) cans undiluted chicken broth

  • 3

    large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4

    cup (50 mL) butter

  • 10

    medium-size onions, either cooking or red or a mixture of both, about 4 lbs (2 kg)

  • 1

    baguette

Directions

1. If serving soup on same day you are making it, slice baguette into 24 slices. Spread out on a counter to dry. Peel onions and cut in half lengthwise. Fit a food processor with a slicing blade. It may be necessary to cut onions in half again to fit down feed tube. Slice onions in processor. Or use a knife and thinly slice. Onions should measure about 15 cups (3.75 L). Melt butter in a large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 25 minutes. Stir in garlic. Add broths, beer, port, if using, thyme, pepper, bay leaf, if using, and mustard powder. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavours. Taste and add more thyme, if needed. Remove and discard bay leaf. 2. Just before serving, place oven rack in top half of oven. Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, using a fork, mash Gruyère with Stilton. Spread about 1 tablespoon (15 mL) cheese mixture over each baguette slice. Place individual serving bowls on a baking sheet. You may need 2 sheets to hold all bowls. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with 2 cheese-topped baguette slices. Place sheets under broiler and broil until cheese is bubbly, from 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Make ahead: Soup will keep well, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 3 months. Cheese mixture can be made 3 days ahead as well, then wrapped and refrigerated. Baguette slices can be stored in an airtight container or sealed bag up to 3 days at room temperature. To reheat soup, cover and stir occasionally over medium-high heat until hot.

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