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The Berghoff Café Cookbook
by Carlyn Berghoff & Nancy Ross Ryan

We always have onions and apples on hand at the restaurant, as well as chicken, beef, and vegetable broth. So this is my twist on traditional French onion soup. I add apples, a dash of sherry, and a big crouton topped with Muenster cheese, which is baked until golden and bubbly. It is one of our customers favorite soups, and one of mine, too. If you use vegetable broth, it becomes a vegetarian soup. You can prepare it days in advance, refrigerate and reheat it, and add the crouton when you are ready to serve. The most important step is browning the onions well: the time this takes will depend on your stove.
Serves 8 to 10


• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 5 cups (about 1½ pounds) yellow onion, halved vertically, sliced 1/8 inch thick
• 2 quarts beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2 cups peeled, julienned Granny Smith apples
• 3 tablespoons dry sherry
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 8½ inch-thick slices of baguette, toasted
• 8 slices Muenster cheese


Heat the oil in an 8- to 10-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown (but not burned), 15 to 25 minutes. Add the broth, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.

Stir in the apples and sherry and let simmer until the apples are just tender, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish each bowl with a crouton topped with a slice of Muenster cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts.

The soup may be made (without croutons) up to four days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Reheat in a microwave or on the range top. Then garnish with the cheese-topped crouton and broil according to the recipe directions.

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