I sure miss the onion soup from Au Petit Poucet Restaurant in Quebec (see January 14, 2013 post on this blog). The restaurant’s soup ingredients include Brandy and red wine. Inspired by this fact, I just had to make it that way, too. And I’m so glad I did – Bon Appetit!

Active Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Inactive Prep time (cooking): 50 to 60 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
8 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
8 cups beef stock
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup Brandy liqueur
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 to 6 thick slices French baguette (slices should be 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick)
1-1/2 cups (5 to 6 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese
6 to 8 sprigs fresh, Italian flat-leaf parsley

1. Place a large (8-quart) saucepot on stove burner which is set on medium heat.

2. In the saucepot, melt the butter or heat the oil.

3. Stir in the onion slices and sauté the mixture for about 15 minutes or until onions are translucent and wilted. (Note: do not let onions turn brown. If this happens at the start, reduce heat.)

4. Add the sugar and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized.

5. Stir in the stock, garlic, Brandy, red wine and Worcestershire sauce.

6. Bind the bay and thyme leaves with twine. Add the bundled herbs to the stock mixture in sauce pot. Simmer the soup for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, to taste.

7. Preheat oven broiler (top grill element).

8. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and place about 6 inches away from oven broiler. Broil the bread slices 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown (stand by and watch this process carefully to avoid charring the bread).

9. Place 4 to 6 ovenproof bowls or crocks on a baking sheet. Discard the herb bundle from the soup. Ladle the soup and fill the bowls to 2/3 full.

10. Place a slice of toasted bread on top of each bowl. Sprinkle the soups evenly with the grated Gruyere.

11. Carefully set the baking sheet with the soup bowls 6 inches away from oven broiler element. Broil about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown.

12. Garnish each soup with a fresh parsley sprig and serve immediately.

Wine pairing suggestion: Bordeaux or Meursault (both reds).
Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real