Natural Grocers Cheesy French Onion Soup

French onion soup is the best kind of nutritious and delicious comfort food. The hearty broth contains caramelized onions and is topped with a “crouton” with broiled cheese on top. This version of the classic soup is silky in texture, gorgeously cheesy, and scrumptiously satisfying. It makes a great starter, or add a salad to make it a full meal.

3 large organic yellow onions, peeled with root end intact
5 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon Natural Grocers Brand Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons dNatural Grocers Brand Bulk Real Salt
2 teaspoons Natural Grocers Brand Bulk Organic Cane Sugar, (or an alternative such as coconut sugar)
1 Against the Grain Gourmet Original Baguette, or use a French or sourdough-style bread
1⁄2 cup organic red wine, or ¼ cup organic red wine vinegar
8 cups organic beef bone broth, or chicken or vegetable broth
Natural Grocers Brand Organic Bulk seasonings
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 cups Natural Grocers Brand Organic Italian Blend Cheese Shreds
  1. To caramelize the onions relatively quickly, use a mandolin to slice them very thin. A thin, uniform slice is necessary to evaporate as much water as possible, as quickly as possible, when you start cooking the onions; a uniform slice also ensures the sugars in the onions caramelize without burning. Slice all three onions and discard the root end. If necessary, cut the onion in half before slicing on the mandolin. If you do not have a mandolin, plan for a little extra time to carefully slice the onions as thinly and uniformly as possible.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil. Add the onions, salt, and sugar, and cover and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 10 minutes. Uncover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 20-30 minutes, or until the onions are beginning to caramelize (they will turn a rich brown). Reduce the heat as the onions begin to brown.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut the baguette into approximately 12 rounds and spread the bread with the remaining butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the bread on a sheet pan and bake for approximately 5 minutes, or until the bread is lightly toasted and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Add the red wine to the onions, increase the heat to medium-high, and deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom and edges of the pan. Continue to cook until the wine has reduced by half, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Place 4-6 oven-safe bowls on a baking sheet. Move the oven rack to the top position and turn on the broiler.
  7. Ladle the soup evenly into the bowls, taking care to not fill them all the way. Top each bowl with two slices of the toasted bread, and evenly sprinkle the cheese over each. Place the baking sheet directly under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly and lightly browned, keeping an eye on them to prevent burning. Serve immediately.