Onion soups have been popular since Roman times, so it seems to me that French onion soup might not be so French after all!
As you may recall from your history class, Henry II, future king of France, married a lovely Italian girl from Florence named Catherine de Medici. What you might not remember is that when Catherine moved to France, she brought her Tuscan chefs with her.
The Tuscan’s, (like all Italians) enjoyed putting a thick crust of bread in the bottom of a bowl, ladling the hot onion soup over it and topping it with grated cheese. This is my version of the Tuscan-style onion soup. The secret to this rustic and robust flavored soup is in the caramelization of the onions. I like to have a crouton with cheese in every bite so I use gratin bowls (shallow) to get equal amounts of the yummy stuff with the broth.
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds onions, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 8 cups beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 loaf rustic country bread
- Olive oil
- Fontina cheese, shredded
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil, add onions, cook over medium heat 10 minutes (stirring often).
- Season with salt and pepper, cook 35-45 minutes (until onions are caramelized).
- Sprinkle flour over onions, stir and cook 2-3 minutes until flour is well blended.
- Add broth, water and wine, bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and cook 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, cut slices of bread into cubes, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toast in 350* oven until golden brown.
To serve, place toasted bread cubes into individual bowls, ladle hot soup over the top and sprinkle with cheese (the cheese will melt without having to go in the oven, so there is no need to have oven-proof bowls). Serve immediately.