French Onion Soup and Crisp White Wine

by Wendy VanHatten

Acidity and a silky body are great matches for onions and cheesy broth


What better combination than a steaming bowl of French Onion soup paired with a crisp dry white wine. French Onion soup takes a little time to make, but the reward is so worth it. Combine that gooey cheese and sweet onion base with an acidic wine, one with some minerality, and you have a perfect meal for a winter evening.

This is one of my favorite recipes, from Epicurious.

French Onion Soup 

• 2 lb medium onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup dry white wine
• 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth (32 fl oz)
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 6 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices of baguette
• 1 (1/2-lb) piece Gruyère, Comte, or Emmental
• 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes.

Remove croûtes from oven and preheat broiler. Put crocks in a shallow baking pan. Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among crocks, then float a croûte in each. Slice enough Gruyère (about 6 ounces total) with cheese plane to cover tops of crocks, allowing ends of cheese to hang over rims of crocks, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.