“Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup.”
Onion soup is one of my favorites.
I have fond memories of my uncle Bob — a very big man — standing over a cutting board, teary-eyed, delicately slicing onion after onion for his famous onion soup. The end result, at least from my perspective, was well worth the tears.
This lightened up version is the perfect opener for a spring dinner party. It’s made with vegetable stock and pernod, instead of beef stock and wine, allowing the sweet onions to really shine.
Of course, don’t forget the smoked mozzarella and thyme crouton. Bubbling, gooey and lightly caramelized, this soup just wouldn’t be the same without it.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for croutons
- 6 large onions, cut into quarters and thinly sliced*
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- splash of pernod
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 1 1/2 cup 2% organic milk
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter
- sea salt + pepper, to taste
- chopped fresh chives, to garnish
* We used a combination of yellow, red and sweet onions for depth of flavor. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand/like best.
To a large stock pot add olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaves and dried thyme. Let cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions become soft and lightly caramelized. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Add a generous splash of pernod and cook for about 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. From here, add the stock and fresh thyme and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and add milk, balsamic, butter and re-season with salt and freshly cracked pepper (if necessary), to your liking.
*Note, for a thicker consistency, quickly run an immersion blender through the soup to purée about 1/4 of it.
For the croutons
Using a ring mold or cookie cutter, cut circles out of thinly sliced bread, about 1/2 inch thick (whole grain or sourdough work well). Brush each round with olive oil and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler for 2 minutes, or until lightly toasted on one side.
Remove from oven and flip each crouton over. Top with about a tablespoon of freshly grated smoked mozzarella and fresh thyme leaves. Place back under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and lightly caramelized.
Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh chives and a crouton + enjoy!