One look will tell you that this soup is first cousin to the world famous classic, French onion soup. But look more closely (and take a whiff of the heady aroma), and some differences quickly become apparent.
Most noticeable is the addition of dried porcini mushrooms, which contribute a profound depth of rich flavor to this soup. Fresh porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis) have a wonderful savory flavor that becomes even more intense when dried. Little wonder that dried porcini are one of the must-have ingredients found in the pantries of mushroom lovers the world over.
Another thing you’ll also notice is that this soup isn’t covered in a thick layer of melted cheese. Gooey melted cheese can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes less really is more – and no amount of cheese can save a lousy soup. When you’ve just made a pot of delicious homemade soup like this one, all you need are a couple of Jarlsberg-topped croutons as a finishing touch.
Make some soup and make the world a better place – one bowl at a time.
Porcini-Onion Soup with Jarlsberg Croutons
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 lb onions, sliced thinly into rounds
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 baguette, sliced diagonally
- 1/4 lb Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated (substitute, Gruyere, Emmenthaler or other Swiss-type cheese)
Reconstitute the dried porcini mushrooms by covering with very hot water and soaking for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and pliable. Strain, pressing down to extract as much water as possible. Reserve the soaking water and set aside. Rinse the reconstituted porcini briefly under cool running water to remove any remaining grit. Chop coarsely and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large heavy pan over medium low heat. Add the sliced onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened slightly and released their liquid, 10 – 15 minutes. Remove the cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced, another 15 minutes or so. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the onions caramelize and are a rich golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium high and add the dry sherry, thyme leaves and chopped reconstituted porcini. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry has evaporated. Add the stock and one cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, taking care to avoid any sediment that has settled to the bottom. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for another 45 minutes.
When the soup is nearly done cooking, preheat the broiler. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler until golden brown, 1 -2 minutes. Flip the slices to toast slightly on the other side. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Return to the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Ladle the soup into wide bowls and float one or two croutons on top of each bowl.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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