Gratinated French Onion Soup with Wild Mushrooms
Gratin is a culinary term, which means a dish is topped with a broiled, browned crust. This crust is often grated cheese, breadcrumbs, butter, or egg. Most French onion soup recipes are gratin, or gratinated, since the crunchy cheese and bread layer contrasts nicely with the rich, sweet soup.
The following recipe for gratinated French onion soup adds blue cheese, wild mushrooms, and chives to the traditional French onion soup recipe for a delicious twist on classic onion soup recipes. You can add a teaspoon and a half of chopped fresh thyme to the mushrooms and onions, while they are sautéing, if you like, for added flavor.
This is a great recipe for a big crowd because it is easy to double or even triple. You can make this gratinated French onion soup ahead if you like. Just let it cool and refrigerate it for up to twenty four hours. Then gently reheat it and proceed with the croutons and cheese. Occasionally in France you will see soup topped with a pastry crust instead of cheese bread, and this performs a dual function in that it keeps the soup hot as well as offering a heartier and more satisfying meal. Most people prefer the cheesy crouton though, and in this recipe blue cheese is added to the dish for even more mouthwatering flavor. If you dislike blue cheese simply omit it.
- 1 cup chopped mixed wild mushrooms (oyster, cremini, and shiitake)
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 4 thick slices baguette
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons light cream
- Melt the butter in a pan over a moderate to low heat and sauté the onions with the mushrooms for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the flour then add the cream gradually.
- Turn the heat up to high, stir in the broth and bring the soup to a boil.
- Turn the heat down and simmer the soup, stirring now and then, for 20 minutes.
- Toast the baguette slices and set them to one side. Preheat the broiler.
- Put ovenproof soup bowls in a shallow baking pan and ladle the onion soup into them. Top each bowl of soup with 2 slices of bread and sprinkle the cheese over the top.
- Broil for a couple of minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Sprinkle the chives over the top and serve.
This soup is amazing. Not only do the mushrooms add an exquisite earthy flavor which goes really well with the beef stock, but the blue cheese adds a novel twist to the crouton. While Gruyère by itself is already flavorful and satisfying, blue cheese adds another dimension. This might not be the best recipe for French onion soup purists but if you do like to get creative in the kitchen and apply little tweaks to recipes to see how you can alter them, then give this a try because the mushrooms and blue cheese work very well indeed here.
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