Mellow, deep golden onions develop a sweeter edge when Belgian white ale enters the picture. Slowly simmered in chicken broth, they get an added flavour punch from garlic, herbs and good old onion soup mix (a cheat we love). The soup is finished off with a hit of apple cider vinegar for balance, and topped with bubbly sheet-pan Gruyère Toasties. Delish!
Ingredients for the Soup
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter, divided
1.35 kg onions (about 6 medium), peeled, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) salt (approx), divided
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) Belgian white ale (witbier)
6 cups (1.5 L) sodium-reduced chicken broth or stock
1/4 cup (60 mL) powdered onion soup mix
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) apple cider vinegar
Finely chopped parsley (optional)
Ingredients for the Gruyère Toasties
12 to 16 slices (1/2 inch thick) baguette (see tips)
3/4 cup (180 mL) shredded Gruyère cheese (about 85 g), see tips
Directions for the Soup
In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until onions start to soften, about 15 minutes.
Add remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and the sugar. Cook, stirring often, until onions start to turn deep golden, 25 to 35 minutes. (Watch carefully, especially toward the end of the cooking time, to prevent sticking and burning.)
Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add Belgian ale, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Cook until almost no liquid remains, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add broth, onion soup mix, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Add vinegar and remaining 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt. Taste and add up to 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) more salt, if desired.
Ladle into 4 bowls. Cover top of soup with Gruyère Toasties and sprinkle with parsley (if using). Serve immediately.
Directions for the Gruyère Toasties
While soup is simmering, preheat oven to 425°F.
Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet. Top with Gruyère, mounding in centres.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted and bread is just toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. If you like your cheese well done, remove pan from oven and keep warm. Preheat broiler to high. Broil until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
The amounts of bread and cheese for the Gruyère Toasties can vary, depending on the size of your bowls and your preferred ratio of topping to soup. With 12 baguette slices, you’ll get 3 toasties per bowl. Adjust the amounts as you like.
You can use a bigger French-style loaf instead of a baguette. You’ll need about 8 slices. You may also need more Gruyère, especially if you like your toasties extra-cheesy.