Photo by foodistablog/FlickrCC
Like the baked rigatoni, this appetizer is inspired by a recipe from Tyler Florence's Tyler's Ultimate, which he calls "The Ultimate French Onion Soup." I won't claim this is the best, but it's pretty good, and the addition of mushrooms helps to fill in for the lost beef broth. It's actually a bit more savory than I imagine Tyler's original to be, but I really enjoy that.
More importantly, I can't emphasize enough that you should make your own vegetable broth. Store-bought veggie broth is a poor substitute for beef or chicken, while homemade is not only just as good, it can be modified to optimally replace either beef or chicken. See how here.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
• 1.5 sticks butter
• 4 onions, sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 fresh thyme sprigs
• 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
• 1 cup red wine
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 2 quarts homemade vegetable broth
• 1 baguette, sliced
• 1/2 pound Gruyère cheese
• Chopped fresh chives
Melt 1 stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay, thyme, and mushrooms, cooking about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay and thyme. Dust everything in the pot with the flour and stir. Turn heat down to low and cook for 10 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush them with 1/2 stick of softened butter. Sprinkle with the Gruyère. Broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, until optimally browned.
Ladle the soup into bowls and divide the bread between them.