National Love People Day is every year on September 30th, and it is a day simply about showing love! The National Love People Foundation believes, “when we genuinely love our neighbors and express it with kind words and thoughtful deeds, we make the world a better place.” And we couldn’t agree more!
"Cooking is love made visible."
At SpiceTopia, we’re all about showing our love through food, so this National Love People Day we are cooking up a big pot of soup to share with loved ones. And we invite you to do the same!
This French Onion Apple Soup is our take on a classic recipe by Ming Tsai, one of our favorite chefs. If you haven’t watched his shows on PBS or read any of his cookbooks, we highly recommend you do. He has a way of sharing how to make classic recipes seem easy.
The recipe starts with what seems to be an insane amount of onions, shallots, and garlic. My friends, trust us--all three are needed as they add layers of flavor and the onions will cook down to about ⅓ of the beginning volume. The key to oozing love into this recipe is to cook everything low and slow. This allows the onions and shallots to caramelize and become sweet.
The addition of apples is not so traditional, but the sourness of granny smith apples balances the sweetness of the onions. We leave the skins on as the longer cooking time allows the skins to melt into the broth.
Speaking of broth, this recipe calls for chicken broth instead of beef broth. We feel beef broth can make French Onion Soup heavy and salty. Switching out chicken broth and adding several umami ingredients brightens up the traditional recipe. The umami ingredients added are dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, and just a touch of soy sauce. Again, soup is all about layers of flavors and each of these ingredients adds a different dimension to the broth.
Emily created our Napa Valley Bread Dip Blend as the perfect addition to olive oil for dunking crusty warm bread. It’s also a great addition to this soup. The herbs and slightly sweet warming flavor of the fennel seed blend beautifully with the sweet onions and tart apples.
As with all recipes, season with salt and pepper as you go. Salt and pepper the shallots, the onions, and the apples. Do keep in mind you will be adding salty ingredients to the broth, so don’t over salt during your seasoning process.
French Onion Soup isn’t French Onion Soup without the ooey gooey crunchy bread and cheese component. We like to create a cheese toast to serve on the side instead of adding it directly to the bowl. You can certainly change that up and serve it more traditionally with the bread and cheese placed directly in the bowl of soup and then broiling until the cheese melts.
And we haven’t forgotten to show love for our Plant Based and Gluten Free Friends.
Gluten Free Substitutions
Use Tamari instead of Soy Sauce
Use a gluten free bread for the cheese toast
Plant Based Substitutions
Use a vegetable broth instead of chicken broth
Use a vegan Worcestershire sauce (we like Edwards and Sons)
Use a vegan cheese instead of Gruyere
We like Follow Your Heart Parmesan or Miyokos Shredded Cheddar
Neither of these cheese melt well, so instead you could make a simple garlic toast with 3 tablespoons vegan butter (or olive oil), 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic, and 2 teaspoons of Vegetable Broth Base. Stir garlic and Vegetable Broth Base into melted butter and broil toast until golden brown!
French Onion Apple Soup Recipe
2 teaspoons neutral flavored oil such as Grapeseed or Avocado Oil
2 teaspoons Pacific Sea Salt, used throughout the recipe
1 tablespoon freshly ground Tellicherry Pepper, used throughout the recipe
12 shallots, peeled and sliced
3 heads of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 white onions, peeled and sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Napa Valley Bread Dip
⅓ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 12 ounce bottle of hard or soft cider
2 quarts of chicken stock
6 slices of bread
2 tablespoons of butter
5 ounces of Gruyere Cheese, grated
Add a teaspoon of oil to a large stockpot. Heat for about 30 seconds over medium heat.
Add shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Stirring often, cook until translucent.
Add garlic and Dijon mustard. Stir and cook until fragrant--30 to 60 seconds.
Add a teaspoon of oil to the pot, and let it heat for about 30 seconds.
Add onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine onions, garlic, and shallots.
Turn heat to low and stirring often, cook onion mixture for about 1 hour. The onions will cook down, turn a dark brown, and sweeten up.
Add apples. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
Add Napa Valley Bread Dip, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cider, and chicken stock to the pot. Stir to combine and simmer over medium low heat for about 1 hour. The broth will cook down about 20%.
The last few minutes your soup is cooking, create your cheese toast. Toast bread until lightly golden brown (in toaster or under broiler). Butter generously. Top with Gruyere Cheese and place under the broiler until cheese is melted.
Serve soup with cheese toast on the rim of the bowl or floating on top of the soup.
Be sure to share this generous pot of soup to show your love to friends and family!