Onion Bread Soup with Sausage – Six Seasons
Last year for my birthday I received a wonderful and very special gift from my stepmother, a cooking class featuring this cookbook. It was at a small bakery where they choose a cookbook every month, then have a cooking class based on several recipes from that cookbook. You leave with a full belly and a cookbook in hand. Great idea, right? Because I was at a bakery, the several recipes we made were sweet ones, which I normally steer clear of since I am a salt girl, not a sweet one. All the recipes we had were interesting and good but I especially liked the premise of this cookbook.
Six Seasons is divided into 6 seasons (duh), with summer divided into early, mid and late, and each season having recipes with items that you should be able to buy fresh. This is genius because why the hell should I be flipping through recipes with sugar snap peas if my closest ones are a good 8 months away or imported from somewhere so south of me that they’ve been in a truck for 2 months. That’s gross, right? In fact, my biggest pet peeve is going to a restaurant in Idaho that has tomatoes on a salad in January. Don’t they see how disgusting they looked before they brought out that salad to me??? Come on! And they taste even worse. Throw on a nice pickled beet for color and call it a day. So with this cookbook I can easily just flip to my season and see the relevant recipes to what I can buy or grow myself, now. I’m kind of fired up about the tomato thing still.
Because it’s early March and we still have snow on the ground, I clearly was smack dab into the “winter” section. I love myself a good soup in the middle of winter and this twist on the french onion soup was very legit. It starts just as a normal french onion soup, then rocks your world by using white wine instead of the traditional sherry and SAUSAGE. And then, drum roll, you put the bread on the bottom! I know.
This recipe is basically: cook a ton of onions for enough time to watch 2 episodes of The Crown on Netflix. Then add some super good broth that you slaved over the stove for hours previously and tear up some bread that’s stale. So basically all things you were supposed to do yesterday or last week. Put all the stuff in a bowl, bread first mind you, and top with some cheese and broil.
Granted, McFadden did give us some grace with allowing store bought broth but we’re still on the hook with having some stale bread around, as people apparently do sometime? Every time I see a recipe for stale bread I’m like, “Who the f keeps bread to the point it’s stale without either eating it or throwing it away because it’s moldy”, but that’s just me. So I tried following this recipe to a T, but instead of having “stale” bread, I took the bread out that morning and let it get hardish… yum!
I will say I bit the bullet and made homemade broth for the sake of following this recipe as closely as I could. I made chicken broth, which was delish, but I could see beef broth being really good as well. I’m not going to share photos because let’s be honest, there’s nothing cute about making chicken broth. It’s like, “Oh, those vegetable scraps and chicken carcass you have boiling away look so appetizing!” No. They smell appetizing though.
Do you have to use homemade broth? No, of course not. But it will definitely taste better. Plus, making homemade broth isn’t that difficult, it’s just takes a long time to do it’s thing. It’s a weekend thing for us 9-5ers.
As you’ll see below, the recipe calls for a mixture of onions if you have them and I had a nice bag of medium organic sweet onions and one red onion so that’s what I used. This recipe was really quite simple and the results were dinner party worthy, for sure.
I will admit that I was unable to follow this recipe in it’s entirety. I know, I know! The problem for me was the final ingredient… Fresh horseradish root, to grate over the top. I tried two stores and gave up. I did add a small dollop of prepared grated horseradish (NOT sauce) on the top and seriously, that made the recipe. I had a bite before adding it and and bite after and it took it to a new level, for sure. Because of my lack of fresh grated root, my finished soup doesn’t look quite as good, but it sure tasted great!
Ease and Convenience – 3.5 – This recipe is time consuming if you choose to make your own broth, but it’s a set it and forget it type of meal so you aren’t having to babysit the meal all day
Taste – 4.5 – Delicious
Cookbook – 5 – This cookbook has beautiful photos, lots of recipes and a reasonable amount of ingredients in each recipe. Unless you hate vegetables, I’d put it on your buy list.
Buy the cookbook here:
Recipe – Onion Bread Soup with Sausage from “Six Seasons – A New Way with Vegetables” by Joshua McFadden – adapted by Shawny
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 5 lbs onions (use a mix if you can of yellow and red) cut into 1/8 inch thick slices – I ended up using 7 onions
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (optional), bulk or casings removed
- salt and pepper
- 3 bushy sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry, unoaked white wine
- 8 cups rich meat or poultry broth, preferable homemade
- Three 1-inch-thick slices stale country bread, crusts on, each torn into 5 or 6 pieces
- 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- Fresh horseradish root, for grating
Heat a very large soup pot or dutch oven over medium. Add olive oil and butter, when melted, add onions. Cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently. If they seem like they are starting to burn, add a little water or wine. Meanwhile, if you’re using sausage (which you should, it makes the soup), crumble it in a skillet over medium heat and cook until no longer pink. Drain on paper towel.
After onions are done, increase heat to med-high, season with salt and pepper and toss in thyme and bay leaf. Pour in white wine, stir and reduce so the alcohol cooks off, approx 5 min. Add the broth and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the sausage back in. Add more salt and pepper if you need it.
Heat the broiler and adjust rack 6 inches under the heating element. Distribute the bread among the 6 ovenproof bowls then ladle the soup over the bread and let it sit for 3 or 4 minutes so it can soak in. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and broil for 2 or 3 minutes. Grate on horseradish. Serve hot.