French Onion Soup is one sure way to Phil’s heart (and stomach). Whenever we’re eating out at a restaurant and French Onion Soup is on the menu, Phil orders a bowl, oohing and aching with each spoonful. Rich broth, chunks of bread, stringy cheese and onions, of course, makes this French classic simple and elegant. To celebrate our First Cheese of the Month Club with Dairy Farmers of Canada, we deconstructed the traditional French Onion Soup and reconstructed it back into a delicious and decadent French Onion Grilled Cheese.
With all the robust flavours of a French Onion Soup, our French Onion Grilled Cheese is made memorable by the addition of a broth-soaked slice of bread between the melted cheese, red wine caramelized onions and crispy top and bottom slices that instantly turns a one-dimensional grilled cheese into a three-dimensional GRILLED CHEESE! The broth-soaked slice adds another layer of texture and adds another layer of comfort and flavour. Inspired by the soup, this grilled cheese is made even more memorable (yes, it’s possible) by the layer of cheese that’s broiled on top of the finished dish; melty, oozy and bubbly fromage.
Cheese, nature’s gift to humans and the best thing you could put between two slices of bread, is a true craftsmanship. Canadian cheese especially, is a tailored expression of individual cheesemakers and is as diverse as the regions of Canada they call home. The cheese of the true north is creative and special, and while distinct from our European neighbours, is respectful of rules and tradition but is not bound to it.
Canada has produced a vast number of award winning cheese that are just as good as imported cheese.
A killer melting cheese, Farm House’s Heidi is native to British Columbia and reaches its peak at one year, with deep and rich flavours paired with grassy notes. The star of our double decker French Onion Grilled Cheese, Heidi is enhanced by caramelized onions and red wine, and fun fact: won an award for the 2015 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in the Firm Cheese category.
French Onion Grilled Cheese
PREP TIME | 15 Minutes
COOK TIME | 35 Minutes
INGREDIENTS | Makes 4 Grilled Cheeses
- 400g Heidi or melting cheese | two thirds used for the inside of the grilled cheese and one third used for the top of the grilled cheese
- 12 slices of bread (1 loaf)
- 2 large red onions
- 100g butter
- 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
- 1/3 red wine (we used Bordeaux)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- Salt and pepper
Prepare the Onions
Thinly slice the onions with the grain (cut along the veins or root line). In a skillet, melt half the butter and sauté onions on medium until they become translucent. Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock, red wine, bay leaf and thyme, stir (not often) and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Prepare your Ingredients
Turn your oven onto high broil. Grate your cheese, slice your loaf into 12 slices of bread and pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth onto a plate. This will be used for dipping your middle slices of bread into. Tip: if your slices are different sizes, be sure to use the smaller slices for the middle slice of your sandwiches and set these 4 slices aside. Butter the remaining 8 slices of bread on both sides.
Assemble Double Decker Sandwiches
Place a heaping layer of grated cheese onto the bottom slices of each sandwich then a small handful of caramelized onions and another layer of cheese. Using the middle slices of bread, dip a slice into the chicken broth on both sides, and place on top of the cheese. Then do it again: add a heaping layer of cheese, a small handful of onions, another layer of cheese and finish with the top slice of the sandwich. Repeat for the remaining 3 sandwiches.
Pan Fry and Bake
Heat the remaining butter in a medium hot skillet, place 1-2 sandwiches on the pan, pressing them down and flipping after bread is golden brown, not burnt. Once both sides are golden brown, place your grilled cheese sandwich onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with remaining cheese. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Remove and let cool.
Serve with a side of broth for even more dipping. And be sure to eat this French Onion Grilled Cheese with a fork and knife because it’s messy and it’s just the right thing to do.
Ready to eat this Grilled Cheese? Get the full printable version of this recipe below.