1 Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apple, peeled, quartered, and cut into julienne strips
3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup Madeira wine or dry sherry
6 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
10 (1/2-ounce) slices sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
Thyme leaves (optional)
How to Make It
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Continue cooking 50 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add pepper, apple, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves; cook 3 minutes or until apples soften. Add wine; cook 2 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes. Discard bay leaves; stir in vinegar.
Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan; broil 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute.
Preheat oven to 500°.
Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 10 ovenproof soup bowls. Divide the croutons evenly among bowls, and top each serving with about 3 tablespoons cheese. Place bowls on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 500° for 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.
Savory and delicious! In my resolution to eat more vegetarian, I didn't even miss the meat in this (beef stock, of course, if a bit of a cheat). This dish served an entire party of 9 as an appetizer, and got rave reviews all around. The apples give the dish a nice sweetness without obstructing texture and overall savoriness. Used regular apple juice in lieu of cider, and the sherry could easily be substituted for broth or more juice. Will definitely be making this again. :D
Make this recipe only if you want some wonderful French Onion soup! My boyfriend said this was the best he had ever had ( I agree with him!) This is going in my make again file. I made the soup in the morning and cooked the soup later on in the day. It worked out perfect! I served with some French bread and a salad.
Some people might be put off by the time it takes to make this recipe. My only advise... clear your schedule. This soup is certainly worth the wait. Not only will it tease you by making your house smell DELICIOUS, it will certainly satisfy your occasional need for rich, good for you food. With no apple cider on hand, we just used the dry mix that you usually only think of around the Holidays. Superb recipe, I will definitely make again... soon!