Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: French Onion Soup

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

4 onions: $1.38
Thyme: $1.39
1 quart chicken stock: $3.39
4 ounces Gruyére: $2.00

Pantry items: Olive oil, butter, garlic, bay leaf, salt, pepper, white wine or vermouth, flour, yeast.

Total cost (for 4 portions): $8.16

When I think of French onion soup I think not of Paris but of New York's Balthazar. Now that I live across the country and can't pop in for an impossibly cheesy bowl, it's only natural that I turn to them for a recipe.

I can't fit soup bowls under my broiler, though--it's beneath the oven--and I couldn't afford that much cheese on my eight-dollar budget anyway. So I made cheese toast instead for a slightly healthier, slightly more affordable meal. To stretch my dollar farther, I made my own (no-knead) bread and stock from bones I had in the freezer. If you don't have homemade stock around, buy a quart and replace the second quart with water. And if you don't have any wine, you might try beer or skip the alcohol altogether; those long-cooked onions should still have plenty of flavor.

French Onion Soup

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

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