When my grandma and I go to lunch at Silver Spurs, the diner near her apartment, we both always get crocks of cheesy French onion soup. Cheese dangles in succulent strands off our spoons as we attempt to eat our soup neatly, but we wind up with broth on our chins and our laps instead. We may not look polite, but at least everyone can tell we are enjoying ourselves.

To me, French onion soup is the ultimate comfort food. It combines the restoring powers of a hearty soup with incredible indulgence – i.e. lots and lots of cheese. It’s a meal that makes you feel better about everything that happened that day, but also gives you the need for a Thanksgiving-style food coma nap.

I’m sharing the cheese co-op with my roommates this semester, and there was only one thought in my mind when we picked up our Vivace cheese – French onion soup. I adapted a recipe from Epicurious.com, and it came out perfectly. We had a few oven-safe bowls, so we were able to create the essential layer of cheese on top of the soup.  I really hate when chefs just throw a handful of grated cheese in the soup; it’s got to be like a top pie-crust, or it takes away from the wonderful experience of messiness and cholesterol.

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French Onion Soup (serves 4):

Ingredients:

  1. 6 large yellow or white onions
  2. 6 cloves garlic
  3. 6 cups beef broth
  4. ½ stick butter
  5. ½ cup white wine
  6. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  7. 1 tablespoon dried thyme (or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, if you have it)
  8. 10-12 ounces of cheese such as Vivace, gruyere
  9. 6 slices of stale country bread
  10. A few sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Sautee the onions and garlic in the butter on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Switch to medium-low for the next 15 minutes, until onions are very soft.
  4. Add mustard and thyme, and stir to evenly distribute.
  5. Add wine and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add beef broth and let soup simmer for half an hour.
  7. Meanwhile, cut up stale bread into small slices (it’s up to you how big, but they have to fit in whatever bowls you plan to serve the soup in).
  8. Toast the slices of bread for about 3 minutes.
  9. Grate a little bit of the cheese and sprinkle it onto the slices of toasted bread.
  10. Turn the oven onto broil and stick the cheesy bread back in there for 1 minute only – it will burn if you leave it in for much longer.
  11. When the soup is ready, pour it into oven safe bowls.
  12. Put one or two pieces of the bread into each bowl of soup.
  13. Cut the cheese into large square or rectangular slices, and layer across the soup as best you can.
  14. Place the bowls onto a baking tray, then broil the soup in the oven for 1-2 minutes (keep watch and don’t keep it in there too long).
  15. Serve and enjoy!

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This turned out to be a very hearty dinner for 4 people, and there was a little soup leftover. You could probably serve 5 slightly less hungry people with this recipe, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Especially not if you’re serving me.

- Miriam ‘13