Onion Soup with Bacon, Winter Herbs, and Gruyère
- 6 Ounces applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 large yellow onions, sliced thinly
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 Cup dry white wine
- 8 Cups beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large sprig rosemary, plus 1/2 teaspoon minced
- 1 large sprig sage, plus 1/2 teaspoon minced
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme, plus 1/2 teaspoon minced
- 18 thin slices baguette, toasted
- 3/4 Cups shredded Gruyère
This adaptation of French onion soup boasts bacon and a generous measure of herbs, in addition to the classic cheese-topped toasts. I particularly like it on a cold day, especially with a glass of full-bodied Belgian ale or a homebrew.
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl.
Add the onions to the drippings in the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are golden brown and very soft, about 20 minutes longer.
Pour in the wine and cook until the wine evaporates and the onions are brown and jamlike, about 12 minutes. Add the broth, bay leaf, and rosemary, sage, and thyme sprigs and simmer the soup very gently to meld the flavors, about 20 minutes.
Remove and discard the herb sprigs. (The soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat to serving temperature before continuing.)
Preheat the broiler.
Arrange the toasts on a small rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Broil the toasts just until the cheese melts. Remove from the broiler, sprinkle with the bacon and minced herbs, and return to the broiler. Broil until the toasts are heated through. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top with the toasts, dividing them evenly, and serve.