I remember the very first time I tried French onion soup. I was about 5 years old, it was snowing hard outside, and my older sisters decided to make soup. For some reason, they decided upon a French onion soup. I remember the smell; it was warm and earthy with the notes of beef broth. The smell was inviting to say the least, which was why I was so eager to get a bowlful.
My 5-year-old self was so disappointed when I got my bowl. The cheese was too bitter (I was not a fan of Swiss cheese) and the onions were thin and slimy. The only thing I liked about the soup was the bread. I pushed my bowl away and left the room. It was years before I tried another bowl of French onion soup.
Today, I can see just how beautiful a bowl of French onion soup really is. The salty beef broth is perfect for those sweet caramelized onions. The crusty bread is a must as it soaks up all that delicious broth. The hot and bubbly Gruyere cheese is creamy, nutty and melts right into the broth so that each bite hits you with different flavors and textures. French onion soup is just dreamy.
That exquisite soup and my love for caramelized onions are the inspiration behind this sandwich. I cooked down two small onions until they were soft and caramel in color. Then I added just a touch of beef base and a little water so that the onions would take on the flavor of my beloved soup.
I placed these onions between two halves of crusty bread and added slices of white cheddar cheese. I know Gruyere is more traditional, but that’s not always easy to find. Swiss cheese would work well too. I like the white cheddar, the sharp flavor seems to pair well with the beef flavoring in the onions, plus it melts nicely too!
Think of this recipe as a guideline. Just as you can swap out the cheese, the bread can be changed up as well. I used country style bread that I found in the bakery section of my grocery store. Use what you have access to, as long as it’s on the firm side.
This sandwich is the hand-held version of my favorite soup! It has everything I love about French onion soup, but it’s something you can really sink your teeth into!
Le Creuset Skillet
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Wusthof Santoku Knife - 5 inch