by Andrea Immer
from Everyday Dining with Wine
(Broadway Books, 2004)
Here’s my all-American version of onion soup, with Granny Smith apples providing some tart flavor, and Cheddar cheese taking the place of traditional Gruyère. While the flavors of the classic French version are tailor-made for Alsace white wines, I think this take trumps it for wine affinity — the sweet onions and apples mirror the fruit taste, while the savory bacon and cheese contrast it irresistibly — yum! Instead of homemade beef stock, which takes the better part of a day, I use canned chicken and beef broth with a dash of red wine. The wine instantly imparts a satisfying, beefy flavor to the soup without the hassle of starting from scratch.—Andrea Immer
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium onions, sliced thin
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
6 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 cups canned low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 French baguette, cut on the bias into twelve 3/4-inch-thick slices
1. Heat the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, apples, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir thoroughly to coat the onions and apples in the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and apples are deeply caramelized, and the bottom of the pot is coated with a dark brown crust, about 30 minutes.
2. Stir in the chicken broth, beef broth, wine, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown crust. Simmer for 20 minutes to blend flavors. Discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. (Soup may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat to a simmer before proceeding with recipe.)
3. Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the broiler. Combine the cheese and bacon in a bowl and stir to distribute evenly. Place oven-proof soup crocks on a rimmed baking sheet. Stir the chopped sage into the simmering broth. Fill each crock almost to the top with soup. Top each crock with 2 baguette slices and sprinkle with some of the cheese-bacon mixture. Place the baking sheet in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbling and well browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Watch the soup carefully, because once the cheese is well browned it will quickly burn. Serve immediately.
Alsace Whites: Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer, Josmeyer Riesling, Zind-Humbrecht
Recipe © 2004 Andrea Immer. All rights reserved.