Is there anything more comforting on a chilly day than a hot bowl of French onion soup?.. with some toasted bread rubbed with garlic and loaded with melty Gruyere cheese. There are two essential components of a good French onion soup. The first is the stock. Your soup will only be as good as the stock you are using. This soup traditionally is made with veal stock or demi glace. The addition of port and red wine are optional but highly recommended. In the onion soup recipe the addition of flour is unnecessary. To make your home made veal stock: Look up at Veal Stock & Demi Glace.
Pick one of the following:
1 Qt/1L Demi glace & 1 Qt/1L water.
2 Qt/2L veal stock.
2 Qt/2L remouillage.
6 Qt/6L Low sodium store-bought veal/beef stock; reduced to 2 Qt/2L.
In a hot pot or cast iron Dutch oven, add butter, onions and a pinch of Celtic sea salt and cook for 3 minutes, on high heat. Throw in the thyme and the bay leaves, and cook for 20 minutes on low heat; covered. Covering the pot at this stage encourages the release of moisture. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and give a stir. Continue to cook for 15 minutes or more, scraping the bottom each time the caramelization begins to occur. (As onions cook, they will take on a sweeter, caramel-like aroma and they will lose a lot of volume). Deglaze with port and red wine and reduce to dry; it should take 15 minutes. Add demi glace and water or veal stock or remouillage. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes; covered. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Readjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and transfer to individual bowl if desired. Onion soup can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Top soup with a slice of toasted bread or a few croutons. Go easy on bread, or it will suck up too much liquid. Add cheese and place the onion soup under the broiler for a few minutes or until golden brown. Bon appétit!