Red Onion Soup

From Martha Bayne

Serves 4

[Ed: A few weeks ago Martin Lemos, farm manager at the Green Earth Institute in Naperville, gifted me with a giant bag of red onions. So nice! But, what to do with them? This recipe, from the September 2008 issue of Gourmet, provided the answer. I quadrupled the quantities, but may not have actually used 8 pounds of onions, as after a certain point my eyes were swollen and burning and I just gave up. I also used Gruyere rather than Manchego, as the Manchego was ridiculously expensive, and, for obvious reasons, had to forego melting the cheese in the broiler. The results were … satisfying. The most common adjective applied to this soup seemed to be “subtle,” with “delicate” running a close second. I translated both to mean “needs salt.”]


2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 whole star anise
6 black peppercorns
2 pounds red onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 (1-inch-thick) slices of baguette
2 cups coarsely grated Manchego or Gruyère (6 to 7 ounces)


Bring broth, water, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook onions in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a heavy medium pot over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, about 15 minutes. Add wine and boil, uncovered, until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute.

Strain broth through a sieve into the onions and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Season with salt. (Yes. Do.)

Preheat broiler. (Or, not.)

Ladle soup into 4 ovenproof bowls set in a 4-sided sheet pan. Place baguette slices on top and sprinkle each with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil about 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes. (Or, ladle soup into bowls. Top with a slice of baguette and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Stir to incorporate until cheese melts.)


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One Response to “Red Onion Soup”

  1. Soup cooks 2/24/10 « Soup and Bread Says:

    […] Green Earth Institute farm manager Martin Lemos, of red onion soup fame. […]

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