Sizzling bacon, caramelized onions and fennel accompanied by a complimentary mushroom addition.
French Onion soup is the inspiration that created this very comforting soup gratin.
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- . 1/4 cup-1/2 stick (60ml) unsalted butter
- . 1/8 cup (25ml) grape seed oil
- . 2 strips of bacon, thinly sliced
- . 4 large (about 6 cups/ 1.5L) Spanish onions, thinly sliced
- . 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- . 10 medium crimini mushrooms, minced
- . 1 Tbsp. (15ml) Dijon mustard
- . 1/4 cup (50ml) dry White wine
- . 1/2 cup (100ml) apple juice (non-filtered)
- . 1 cup (250ml) water
- . 4 cups (1 Litre) Vegetable stock
- . 1 tsp. (5ml) sea salt (or more to taste)
- . 4 thick slices of crust bread, cubed and lightly toasted for croutons
- . 12oz. (350g) from Cheese selections: Emmental, ComtÃ©, GruyÃ¨re, Monterey Jack
- . Thinly slice onions and set aside momentarily. Do the same for the fennel, mushrooms and bacon.
- . In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or 'Dutch oven' pot, melt together the butter and oil on medium-high heat. Add the sliced bacon. Cook for a few minutes. Add the onions and fennel and sautÃ© them until they show pronounced brown edges (about 10 minutes). At this point, add the mushrooms and combine for a minute. Add the Dijon mustard. Lower the heat to medium for about 20 minutes. Give the mix a stir once and a while throughout this cooking time.
- . Afterwards, pour the White wine as it deglazes the pan and the alcohol evaporates. Now, lower the heat to medium-low so that the mix cooks down to a complete, deep caramelized stage. Place a cover over the saucepan with it slightly ajar to have moisture escape slowly. This will take another 30 minutes or until the onions have greatly reduced into a deeply rich jam-like consistency.
- . Increase the heat back to medium-high heat. Add and stir in the apple juice, water, vegetable stock and salt. Once it has reached a boiling point, reduce the heat back again to medium-low and simmer for the final cooking of about 15 minutes or so.
- . Meanwhile, if the croutons weren't made ahead of time, the bread can now be cubed and lightly toasted. Set aside. Same goes for preparing the slices of selected cheese.
- . Prepare a baking sheet to soon place the oven-proof bowls. Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4 and position oven rack in the center. Once onion soup is ready, ladle it into the bowls, 3/4 of the ways. Add a bit of cheese, followed by a few toasted croutons and finally topped with more cheese.
- . Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted with its anticipated golden edges. They're ready to serve. Buon appetit.
- . Enjoy Claudia's flavourful wishes at FOODESSA.com