Fresh Onion Soup for One

Fresh Onion Soup for OneNot French Onion, FRESH onion. This recipe turned out about a thousand times better than I anticipated, and also rendered a masterful little recipe that serves one. Picture this… you are at the beach house, a solo traveler. By Yourself. ONE person. Who wants to be alone. And who hopefully wants to cook because I suggest pouring yourself a crisp chardonnay and making this for dinner. Sorry, Larry, mine mine mine.

This was inspired by Alton Brown’s French Onion Soup recipe, which I like because he uses an electric skillet.  Alton’s precise scientific approach to cooking makes his recipes sensible. The electric skillet isn’t totally necessary but it IS a breeze.

But looking at his recipe reminded me of the ingredients I didn’t have. I’m not partial to beef consommé. Plus I had no apple cider. Nope, no fresh herbs for bouquet garni. And only 3 brown onions (.25 cents each at the Farmers Market). But I know that with the exception of the onions, bread and cheese, any foodie’s beach house would have everything else. Wish I had a beach house. For now, I do have onion soup.

Onion Soup for One

  • 3 brown onions
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp. ground dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • Traditional toppings: slice of crunchy bread and 1/2 – 1 cup grated Fontina or Gruyere cheese

Trim ends off each onion, then halve lengthwise.  Remove peel and thinly slice into half moon shapes, pile onto a plate.  Set electric skillet to 300 degrees and add butter.  Once butter has melted, add a half the onions in a layer and sprinkle with salt.  Repeat second layer of onions and remaining salt.  Sweat down for 15 minutes, covered, and do not stir.  After that, stir occasionally until onions are dark mahogany, total time about 45 minutes.  Do not worry about burning.

At this point, add wine and simmer uncovered, stirring slightly to deglaze the pan.  Add chicken broth, thyme, parsley, bay leaves and pepper, simmer 15 more minutes.

Place oven rack in top third of the oven and heat broiler.  Cut any portion of bread off so it will fit like a cap over the soup, pop into the toaster until crisp.  Pour soup into oven-safe crockware, top with toast, sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Del Riesenhuber March 10, 2014 at 9:29 pm

A great recipe. i only used 2 onions but they were very large. I cooked it on the range top, setting temp to med heat. I drank the rest of the wine. All was really
great. Thanks.

2 Catherine @Frugal Homemaker Plus May 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

I found you on Pinterest! I love “for one” recipes. I’m making this for lunch right now, and it smells amazing.

3 gratinee June 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I adore French Onion soup. The pic is lovely!

4 Hélène June 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

I love making French Onion soup. My recipe is so close to yours except that I use beef broth instead of chicken. Looks really good.

5 lisa June 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Hey Patti, do you have a foolproof recipe for crispy homemade french fries? I read Russ Parsons book but mine still don’t taste like the Tommy’s seasoned fries I crave. I get my oil up to at least 375 degrees so wonder if there is a trick you can share. Thanks!

Patti comments: I don’t have such a tip since I don’t fry at home. Too much work.

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