This adaptation of French onion soup boasts bacon and a generous measure of herbs, in addition to the classic cheese-topped toasts. Enjoy it on a cold day, accompanied by a glass of full-bodied ale.
Onion Soup with Bacon, Winter Herbs & Gruyere
6 oz. (185 g.) applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm.) pieces
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml.) dry white wine
8 cups (2 l.) beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig rosemary, plus 1/2 tsp. minced
1 large sprig fresh sage, plus 1/2 tsp. minced
1 large sprig fresh thyme, plus 1/2 tsp. minced
18 thin slices baguette, toasted
3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g.) shredded Gruyere cheese
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl.
Add the onions to the drippings in the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are golden brown and very soft, about 20 minutes longer. Pour in the wine and cook until the wine evaporates and the onions are brown and jamlike, about 12 minutes. Add the broth, bay leaf and rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs and simmer the soup very gently to melt the flavors, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. (The soup can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat to serving temperature before continuing.)
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the toasts on a small rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Broil the toasts just until the cheese melts. Remove from the broiler, sprinkle with the bacon and minced herbs, and return to the broiler. Broil until the toasts are heated through.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top with the toasts, dividing them evenly, and serve. Serves 6.
Find more recipes inspired by fruits, vegetables or herbs grown in your own garden in Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Garden Cookbook, by Jeanne Kelley.