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Vidalia Onion Soup with Blistered Vermont Cheddar Cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lbs Vidalia onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup brandy
½ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth
5 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 thin slices French baguette, lightly toasted
1 lb aged cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until melted. Add the onions and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the brandy and sherry and cook until reduced. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock and the thyme and cook until the soup is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
2. Preheat broiler. Place the crocks on a baking sheet and fill each crock ¾ of the way with the soup. Place a slice of baguette over the soup and divide the cheese on top. Place the soup under the broiler and broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown. 

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