French Onion Soup

Photos by Aaron Lavinsky | Published: May 5, 2015

“My girlfriend’s most favorite thing in the world is French Onion soup. So I not only have become accustomed to ordering it with her at most every restaurant we visit, I also have to make it for her far too often. I adapted this recipe off an idea, and love the results. Instead of a runny beef stock, it becomes a decadently rich vegetable base that satisfies the neediest of souls or girlfriends in our sodden fall weather.”

French Onion Soup with Caramelized Carrot Stock

Chef Andrew Bickar, Rediviva Restaurant
4­6 servings

The Stock:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2­inch pieces
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 quarts light sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked from the stems
  • 2 cloves garlic

The Rest:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1⁄2 pound gruyere cheese
  • 1 baguette

The process: Sauté carrots in butter, baking soda, and salt until they caramelize. The baking soda helps increase the pH, which in turn will speed up the Maillard, or browning process. Once caramelized, remove from heat and deglaze the pan with wine. Scraping all the fond (everything stuck to the pan) off the bottom.

Add the rest of the ingredients and return the pot to the stove. Continue to cook your stock for 20 minutes on medium­low.

While you wait, sauté onions and salt in butter until brown, deglaze with vinegar and cook out the excess liquid. Remove bay leaves. Puree stock, add to onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with a slice of baguette and gruyere cheese, melt in broiler. Enjoy!