french onion and apple cider soup

Fall is the time for big pots of soup-y, stew-y, warm goodness…something you can dip into the next day or pack in a thermos to take to work for lunch with a hunk of crusty bread or a salad.

Having just finished up the last of chicken chili leftover from Halloween, I was itching to make another soup or stew.  I’m usually not the type to have an ‘a-ha” moment when it comes to making, let alone, creating recipes.  No…I usually have to take stock of what I have, pour over recipes, think about what would taste good together, how I can tweak it…you get the idea.

When I saw the big bag of onions in the farm box, along with the apple cider, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I hadn’t had french onion soup in a long time and that’s exactly what I wanted.

This somewhat lighter version of the original uses chicken stock instead of beef.  Notice how I said “somewhat light”?  It wouldn’t be onion soup without the cheese and there was no way I was leaving that off.!

french onion and apple cider soup

1/2 cup butter

3 pounds onions, very thinly sliced (if you have a mandoline, then break it out for this)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Cup apple cider

4 cups chicken stock

leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme

8 slices bread from a baguette, toasted

cheese (I used gruyere, but you could use fontina or camembert)

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or stockpot and add the onions.  Saute them until they start to soften.  Add a splash of water, cover with a lid, and cook until the onions are very soft and start to caramelize.  Be patient as this can take a long time.  Mine took about an hour.  During this process, you may have occasionally add another splash of water and toss the onions around in the pan a bit.

Take the lid off.  Add the sugar and continue to cook until the juices and water have evaporated.

When the onions are dark, add the cider, stock, and thyme and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Turn your broiler on low.

Ladle soup into 8 heavy bowls that are ovenproof.  Put 1-2 slices of the toasted bread on top of each bowl, and top with slices of cheese.  Place on a cookie sheet in oven and broil a few minutes, just until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

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