How can you turn the all-time, classic French onion soup into a more Mediterranean version for your Christmas dinner? Voilà! Christmas onion soup. More vegetables, of course, olive oil instead of butter and herbs. This soup is the perfect starter for your Christmas dinner. Caramelized white onions, shallots, leeks bathed on white wine, beef or vegetable stock and crusty bread under a luscious layer of cheese. Truffle oil adds a bit of festive luxury that will be largely welcome. Not drooling yet? Your guests most certainly will.
Now, let’s talk about the details.
The combination of onions, shallots, and leeks offer a surprisingly delicious outcome. The strong-flavored onions and shallots are balanced by the milder almost delicate flavored leeks. Caramelize all of them until golden brown and enhance their outstanding flavor. This is the most time-consuming step in this recipe because until your veggies are golden brown, I strongly advise not to leave the kitchen but stir continuously. The rest of the recipe is mostly waiting time.
While I was researching about French onion soup, I found out that many famous French cookers don’t use stock in their star Michelin dishes. I totally get it! When you have in hand so many flavorful ingredients, you may easily skip the stock. Either way, those who follow my recipes know that I rarely use stock even for soups. Therefore, the stock is optional and in case you decide to use some, choose low sodium beef stock or vegetable stock for a vegetable (or vegan if you skip the cheese) version.
PLAY WITH SENSES
Now you have the choice to impress the heck out of people. Cheesy sourdough or French bread top. Raise your hand if you don’t like melted cheese over crusty bread (I know only our vegans waving wildly). Silence. So why not make it memorable and serve it right from the oven with bubbling cheese on top? Go for it and please all your guests’ senses. Smell: it will hit you hard first. Sight: so beautiful especially in small oven-safe ramekins. Hearing: hear the cheese bubbling in front of you. Touch: with your spoon or hands. Taste: do it and you will be hooked forever. Your Christmas onion soup will be a memorable experience.
I usually use graviera, an exquisite Greek cheese but you may select French cheese like Comte, Cantal or Swiss Gruyere or Emmental, Cheddar cheese. Any of these choices are perfect for onion soup. It is mostly a matter of availability and price.
The only drawback of making this recipe is that everyone asks for more. You just cannot get enough. So be prepared and make a generous amount of it. The worst-case scenario is to eat leftovers the following day. Not bad at all, if you ask my opinion.
READY! NOW, WHAT?
I highly suggest topping your Christmas onion soup with truffle oil. I know it is not for everyone. I guess it is one of these ingredients that either you hate it or you crave it like crazy. It’s either wowww or ewww. Therefore, I don’t recommend to include it in the main recipe. You may leave a bottle with truffle oil on the table and give the choice to your guests to drizzle some over their onion soup or not. Some of them will highly appreciate your idea.
I would pair it with a fruity Greek white wine like Moschofilero and Assyrtico or a Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc that will enhance the sweetness of the onions and take your Christmas onion soup to another higher culinary level.
Enjoy the first dish of your Christmas dinner with this luscious Christmas onion soup and tell me if you like it. Post your pics, follow me and tag me on Instagram to light up my day and Christmas holidays.
Christmas Onion Soup
- 5 red or yellow onions peeled and sliced
- 4 medium shallots peeled and sliced
- 2 large white onions peeled and sliced
- 2 leeks, (the white part only) trimmed and sliced
- 2 small bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (250ml) dry white wine, Assyrtiko or Sauvignon Blanc
- 8 cups (2 liters) beef stock or vegetable stock or water hot
- Truffle oil, drizzle to serve (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 slices sourdough or French bread stale
- 1 cup (200g) Graviera cheese or other shredded
- In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, shallots, leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramelized meaning soften and golden brown. Add the thyme and bay leaves and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce heat and sprinkle the flour over the onions-shallots-leeks, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes until absorbed. Add wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced.
- Pour in the hot stock or water, bring to boil, then simmer for around 20 mins until the vegetables are completely soft. Discard the bay leaves and season to taste.
- Preheat the oven at 482°F (250°C).
- Ladle the soup into individual heatproof serving bowls. Top with a slice of bread to each of them (to fit like a lid) and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Place them on a baking tray and transfer to the oven. Grill until golden brown no more than 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it.
- Serve immediately while the cheese is still bubbling.
- Pair it with a fruity white wine like Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc.