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Dec 12, 2017
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WINE WITH…Multi-Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons

The secret to this delicious soup is to choose a variety of different options from the onion family, including regular yellow and/or purple onions, sweet Vidalia or Walla Walla onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives, scallions…. The options seem endless, and the more different varieties you use the richer and more complex your soup will be. The cheesy croutons are really just grilled cheese sandwiches cut into cubes (it’s hard to go back to plain croutons once you’ve tasted this variation on the theme).

This soup is rich and hearty enough to be a meal in itself. It also can be served as a first course at an elegant dinner party, in which case you might want to raise the bar and enjoy it with a glass of Champagne.

Multi-Onion Soup With Cheese Croutons

4-6 servings

The soup is even better if made a day ahead; allow 1 crouton-sandwich per person.

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow or red onions, chopped
1 Walla Walla or Vidalia onion, chopped
3 leeks (white and light green parts only, carefully cleaned and chopped)
3 shallots, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock

Place the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot, and when the butter foams stir in the onions, leeks, shallots and sugar. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook the onions slowly, stirring frequently, until they are very soft and caramel colored (this should take 50-60 minutes). Adjust the heat if necessary so that the onions don’t burn. Once they are cooked, add the bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and stock, and simmer the mixture for 20-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and lightly puree the mixture with an immersion blender. The soup should be chunky, not completely pulverized.

For Each Cheese Sandwich:

2 slices of good white bread, crusts trimmed
2 tablespoons of butter, softened
1-2 ounces good Cheddar cheese, sliced or grated

Spread the butter thickly over one side of each slice of bread. Sandwich the cheese in between the two unbuttered sides of the bread. Grill the sandwiches in an electric gridler or panini press, or in a skillet on top of the stove. Let the sandwiches cool slightly, then cut them into 12 squares and float them on top of the soup.

* * *

You have two options for a winning wine companion with this soup. Either choose something that matches it for richness, or something that provides a contrast, either through its taut acidity or its rustic earthiness. Neither is the superior choice, though if you are serving the soup as a first course with other dishes and other wines to follow, the contrast might be the more appealing option.

Questions or comments? Contact us at Talkofthevine@gmail.com

More recipes and wine pairings:    Wine With...  
Connect  on Twitter:   @M_L_Thomas  and  @Wine_With_


Approx. Price


Dry Creek Vineyard

Sonoma County



“Heritage Vines”



Very complementary, this is a rich, sumptuous red, full of bright, brambly fruit flavors. It adds body and a lush mouthfeel to an already richly satisfying dish.

“Esprit du Rhône”

Laudon & Chusclan Vignerons


Côtes du Rhône


(Imported by Quintessential)


A textbook Côtes du Rhône, with flavorful plum fruit flavors augmented by an earthy undertone and a slightly gamey finish. Those non-fruit flavors provide an intriguing counterpoint to the luxuriant soup.

Montinore Estate

Willamette Valley


Pinot Noir

“Red Cap”



Soft but lithe, with unexpected grace given its price tag, this is an elegant Pinot, marked by red fruit and savory spice flavors. Its supple character provides a delicious textural contrast in the pairing.

Dominique Pabiot



“Les Vielles Terres”


(Imported by Siema Springfield)


You might think that this Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley would prove too light for such a rich dish, but its crisp acidity makes it a more than willing partner. One sip and the soup will suddenly seem livelier.

Martin Ray

Sonoma County





A consistent winner in the under $20 category, this Chardonnay tastes clean and fresh, but also rich, with notes of vanilla and butterscotch supporting its forward apple and citrus fruit flavors. It complements the soup deliciously.