With caramelized onions and a rich wine and beef broth, this classic bistro soup is easy to make at home.
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 to 5 medium cooking onions
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. dry sherry (optional)
6 cups beef stock (good quality)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar, to finish soup
About 1/2 baguette, cut into thick slices
1 garlic clove, for rubbing onto baguette
8 slices provolone cheese or about 3 cups grated cheese
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or Italian parsley, for garnish
To caramelize the onions: Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven/saucepan over low heat. Add onions. Cook onions, stirring regularly, until onions are a dark golden brown colour, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Increase heat to medium. Add rosemary and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually stir in red wine and sherry. Let reduce for 5 to 10 minutes. Add beef stock and bay leaves. Simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If soup is too sweet, finish with a little sherry vinegar. Finish with lots freshly ground pepper.
Use 1 to 2 baguette slices for each serving depending on the width of the soup bowl. Brush slices with olive oil and toast under broiler until lightly golden. Rub with garlic.
Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls. Top each with toasted bread and Provolone cheese. Broil until cheese melts and bubbles, about 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with chives or parsley.
Yield: 4 servings.