Nothing feeds the soul quite like soup. Most soups are hearty in both taste and texture. And one of the best things about soups: You can make a meal out of them. Add a salad and some crusty bread and dinner is served.
One of my favorite soups for fall is French onion, an undeniable classic. French onion is one of those soups in which all of its parts come together in every spoonful. There are the onions that get their sweet flavor from being cooked down so that they release their natural sugar. Any onion, from white to sweet to yellow cooking onions, will suffice. When the sugars release from the onions, they melt and become caramelized.
Once those sugars caramelize, their color becomes dark. The darker the color of the onions, the deeper the flavor. Just don’t overcook the onions or they will burn and the soup will taste burned. When you see the color start to change, taste the onion to judge its sweetness.
I like to slice the onions in half circles a good ¼-inch-thick so they are discernible. If you slice them too thin, they will cook down to next to nothing. It will take about 30 to 40 minutes for the onions to caramelize. You’ll want to watch the heat, keeping it on medium. And stir only every so often. If you stir the onions constantly, they won’t caramelize properly.
When it comes to the cheese, the type matters. Most recipes call for Gruyère, but you can use many kinds. The original version of today’s recipe calls for Morbier, a creamy and mild cow’s milk cheese, but I used Muenster, a good melting cheese. Havarti or fontina would also work.