Anthony Bourdain, my favorite tv chef, was the head chef at Les Halles for a while. This recipe is from the Les Halles cookbook and was helpfully put up over at Chow.com. I made a few small changes based on what I thought sounded good and what ingredients I could find (you just try finding Gruyère cheese in Syracuse Utah).
Makes 8 servings. Also note Britnie thought the onion to liquid ratio was out of wack. So maybe subtract an onion or two if you don’t like large amounts of onion in every bite.
For the broth
- 6 ounces butter
- 8 large onions (or 12 small onions), thinly sliced. I used half yellow and half red onions which I thought was a nice balance.
- 1/3 cup port wine
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 4 ounces thick cut bacon diced
- 1 bouquet garni (I used sage, thyme and parsley) If you’re using it dry just use 1/2 T of each.
bouquet garni before being wrapped up in cheesecloth
For the croutons and cheese:
- 16 croutons made from baguette sliced 1/2 inch thick and coated with olive oil and kosher salt. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes. Get them nice and hard because they’re going to get wet.
- Sliced provolone cheese
- Increase the heat to medium high and stir in the port wine and the vinegar, scraping all that brown goodness from the bottom of the pot into the liquid. Add the chicken stock. Add the bacon and the bouquet garni, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, skimming the fat off the top occasionally. Remove the bouquet garni.
- When it’s finished cooking fill soup bowls that are safe to go in the oven. Cover the top with two or three croutons side by side. Put slices of the cheese on top so it covers everything and goes over the sides a little.
- Turn on the broiler to heat up for a few minutes then stick it under the broiler until the cheese gets dark brown and is really bubbly.
- Take it out and eat it.
Melt the butter on a large pot until it starts to turn light brown. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and browned (about 20 minutes). Add a pinch of kosher salt. The onions need to start browning really well, lots of good color.