When I was in college I belonged to the caving club. I was a WUSS*. Yes, I suited up in old clothes, put a helmet and light on my head and headed underground, towards the center of the earth. I'm not crazy, I come by this naturally, both my parents were active cave explorers when I was younger and I was underground long before I could walk. There's something so peaceful when it's just you, in the dark, with the living rock. In the Earth's womb.
But I digress, in the cold winter months there wasn't much caving going on in Ohio, even Southern Ohio. The highlight of those frigid weeks, when the ground was iced over and the sun was down long before classes were finished was Wednesday night caving club meetings. The faculty advisor was an old friend of Dad's and I had known he and his wife my whole life. The same was true for some of the other non-student members. Every week after the meeting some of us, the adults and officers, would go out for dinner at one of the local chain restaurants. Each week we went to a different place, but the need for warm comforting food was always the same. So many Wednesday nights I ordered French onion soup; warm, flavorful and decadent with molten cheese.
We had a frigid day and fairly significant snow, and walking home through the clear, crisp, chilly night I was overcome with a need to recreate that pungent soupy comfort. I've never made an onion soup before, but I do have lots of onions in the house and using the oven is a great way to add a little extra warmth to our little apartment. If roasting works for garlic I figured it would work just as well for onions. And I was right! I can think of so many flavor variations for this warm, comforting base
*WUSS stands for Wittenberg University Speleological Society. We used to say that "you have to be brave to be a WUSS"
Roasted Onion Soup
1 large yellow onion
1 bunch scallions
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups broth or water
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350° F. Have the onion and then slice it, same with the shallots, cut scallions into 1/2" sections and chop garlic. Toss chopped onion and garlic with olive oil and spread in a heavy baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through, until most onions are dark brown. When the onions come out of the oven immediately pour 1 cup of broth into the pan and scrape all the drippings from the bottom. Pour broth and onions into a sauce pan and add remaining 2 cups broth. Heat soup and add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve like french onion soup ladle into 3 or 4 oven safe bowls, top with toasted bread, croutons or roasted garlic biscuits and grated Gruyere cheese. place bowls on a baking sheet and place under the broiler or back into the oven until the cheese is melted, 7-10 minutes.