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Northwest Onion Soup

Paula Nemzek of KCTS 9

Episode: KCTS 9 Cooks: Kitchen Classics

Apples add to the natural sweetness of caramelized onion in this rich and savory soup. A time-consuming recipe. Take care of a few steps ahead of time on a day when you're working around the house and the soup is surprisingly easy to put together. Perfect for a rainy day.

serves 6 to 8



  • 4 pounds yellow onions, peeled and sliced pole to pole
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 loaf artisan sourdough bread, cut in 1-inch cubes (We use Essential Baking's Rosemary loaf.)
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated or julienne
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine or dry sherry
  • 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon wine or sherry vinegar

A day or two ahead: Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions to pan and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Onions should just begin to turn translucent. Continue cooking 60 minutes or until onions turn a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Patience is called for in this step. Depending on the size of your pot it may take twice as long to get the onions nicely caramelized. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

Start the onions off on medium-high for the first 5 minutes, then continue to cook on medium. While the onions brown, make the croutons and grate the cheese. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, or until edges turn brown. Cool croutons and store in a plastic bag. Grate Gruyere cheese and refrigerate.

To finish, reheat the onions on medium heat. Add 3/4 teaspoon pepper, apple, thyme and bay leaves. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until apples soften. Add wine and cook 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and cider. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. At the end, discard bay leaves season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in vinegar.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls. Add croutons and sprinkle generously with the shredded cheese. Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, until cheese melts. Serve, expecting compliments and requests for seconds!