Since today is National Grilled Cheese day, I decided to try out something that has been on my list for a while now - the French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese. It's not a new or novel idea, just something I've been wanting to try. Now that I have, I have to admit that for spending all that time caramelizing onions, I think I'll save it for a big pot of soup next time, or at least both. That was a lot of time to invest in a sandwich; a very tasty sandwich, but still ...
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 sm clove garlic, crushed
1 lg sweet onion, sliced
1 lg white onion, sliced
1/2 beef bouillon cube
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 t Worcestershire
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 t sugar
1 T butter
2 slices pumpernickel
1/3 c shredded Gruyere
fresh thyme leaves - toss with the Gruyere
- Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat
- Saute the garlic until softened and fragrant but not yet browning
- Add the onions, bouillon, balsamic, and Worcestershire, stirring well to coat onions
- Add the bay leaves and thyme, then cover and let cook for about 10" until the onions are soft
- Remove the cover, the bay leaves, and the thyme, reducing heat to low and stirring in the sugar
- Keep cooking over low heat, stirring every so often, until a deep golden color - about 40"
- Warm a skillet over medium heat, adding the 1T of butter
- Sear the 2 slices of pumpernickel on one side
- Flip one slice of toast, top with half the grated cheese/thyme, then onions, and cheese again
- Top with the seared side of the second slice of pumpernickel, then flip to toast the other side
Don't know why it looks like my toast is burnt in all the pictures. It really wasn't. I was torn between using Swiss or Gruyere. I'm glad I went with the Gruyere - it melts much more nicely. You might see in the picture where I added it to the pan that it was already melting around the edges before I even added the onions. The heat from the toast was enough to get it going right away. That's why it's so funny that the toast looks burnt - if I was using a harder cheese, I would have to have kept the sandwich in the pan longer to melt, which might have meant burnt toast, but that wasn't the case here.
I appreciated the depth of flavor the beef bouillon provided. The bouillon was the reason for the unsalted butter in the onions. If you happen to have some beef broth/stock in the fridge and want to use that instead of the bouillon, just add a little salt (or use salted butter) to make up the difference. You will also need to cook the onions longer in the first step because the broth/stock will mean additional liquid.
!! HAPPY GRILLED CHEESE DAY !!