Tonight was round two of last week’s cupcakeapalooza, though minus the cupcakes and plus a meal. Liz, Katie, Beth and Amy joined me for a casual dinner party, which included good food, wine, sugar and plenty of running talk. Solid night all around.
The main dish was something I’ve been wanting to try — and it fits my Cooking Light challenge — that also falls within everyone’s culinary preferences: French Onion and Apple Soup.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 15 cups sliced yellow onion (about 4 pounds)
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apple, peeled, quartered, and cut into julienne strips
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry [I used Chardonnay as a substitute]
- 6 cups lower-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar [Substituted white wine vinegar]
- 10 (1/2-ounce) slices sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Continue cooking 50 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add pepper, apple, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves; cook 3 minutes or until apples soften. Add wine; cook 2 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes. Discard bay leaves; stir in vinegar.
Preheat broiler. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan; broil 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute.
Preheat oven to 500°. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 10 ovenproof soup bowls. Divide the croutons evenly among bowls, and top each serving with about 3 tablespoons cheese. Place bowls on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 500° for 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.
I was unsuccessful at caramelizing the onions — they softened but didn’t brown — in part because my Dutch oven is too small and possibly because I used too much butter. So the soup wasn’t as thick or as dark as I was expecting. However, the flavor was great, and I would definitely make it again. And thank goodness I have some left over!
It was a fun night, and it was past 8pm (and our bedtimes) before we realized it. I’m also thankful to these girls for another reason — their presence meant I had to clean, do laundry and go to the grocery store. Come back any time!