Tag: Caramelized Onions

The Best Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

Caramelized Onions for Grilled Cheese
Grilled Cheese assembly

When I was little, I called grilled cheese sandwiches “girl cheese” sandwiches. Makes sense, right? Boys had cooties and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to eat something as crispy and buttery with perfectly melted cheese. I thought it made perfect sense.

Last summer, my friend Corey worked at a food cart here in Portland called the Grilled Cheese Grill. If you haven’t heard of it, they have these really wonderful, creative, goofy grilled cheese sandwiches. My personal favorite is the jalapeno popper: roasted jalapenos, colby jack, cream cheese, and tortilla chips on sourdough.

Sometimes, when lunchtime rolls around in our apartment, I go hunting through our cabinets and fridge shelves and I am just so uninspired. But the other day, that was not the case. We had a fresh loaf of sourdough bread from New Seasons (usually we get whole wheat, but when I have my way, sourdough it is), and all I wanted was a grilled cheese. But I wanted to make it interesting, and the other thing I had been craving? Caramelized onions.

When I told Jonah of this amazing sandwich, he got jealous and made himself one for lunch the next day. The fever is catching…

Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions

Makes one sandwich


Two slices of bread (preferably sourdough)
Cheddar cheese, sliced into thin pieces (we buy Tillamook sharp cheddar)
Parmesan cheese, sliced into thin pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4-1/2 tsp brown sugar


The first step is to caramelize the onions. Throw your onion slices in a pan over medium-low heat. Cover and let them soften for a few minutes, then sprinkle the brown sugar and a pinch of salt over them and stir to coat evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, allowing the onions to brown and soften all the way. After the onions are softened turn the heat up to medium-high and let them cook for another couple minutes, stirring. This will give them a nice sear on the edges.

While your onions are softening, butter the outsides of your sandwich bread (the side that will hit the pan). Thinly slice the cheddar cheese and put it on BOTH sides of the bread. This is key. Nothing is worse than making a grilled cheese with stuff other than cheese on it and then having the bread slide around because there’s no cheese sticking it in place. I’m serious. I put slices of parmesan on just one side so there wasn’t too much of it: parm is a strong cheese and you don’t want it to overpower anything.

When your onions are ready, lay them on the bed of cheese you have created for them. Put the two sides of the sandwich together, and throw it in the pan over medium heat. Cover it while it cooks (this makes the cheese melt quicker so that you don’t have to burn the bread while you’re waiting for the melting to occur). When the bread is golden brown, flip, and cook until the other side is golden brown too. Put on a plate, cut down the middle, and serve, warm and gooey and cheesy. Enjoy!

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Yesterday, I was craving French Onion Soup. I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen (duh) and luckily, we had most of the ingredients except wine, broth, and swiss cheese. After work, I swung by the grocery store, picked up what I needed, and I was ready to go. I halved the recipe, but I’ll give you the original in case you’re cooking for more than just two people (but half was the perfect amount for me and Jonah).

French Onion Soup


1 1/2 pounds (5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon table salt (or less)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef stock (mushroom stock is a good vegetarian substitute)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 cups (to taste) grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese
Crusty bread, sliced into 1 inch thick pieces toasted until hard


Melt the butter and oil together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, tossing to coat them in the butter/oil, and spread them so they cover the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat and let the onions cook, covered, for 15 minutes. You don’t need to stir them during this step.

After 15 minutes, turn up the heat a little bit and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook them for 30-40 minutes until they have become a lovely golden brown, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Yes, 30 minutes seems like a long time to stir onions, but allowing them to caramelize well will make for really nice flavor later on and will make the soup taste much more complex and, well, just better.

Once the onions are browned, add the flour, stirring it in well, and cook for another 3 minutes. Now add the wine (all at once) and the stock, a bit at a time, stirring between additions. Add a little salt and pepper. Be sure not to over-salt! The stock is plenty salty and the cheese on the gratinée is plenty salty, so don’t overdo it now. Once the stock is all in, bring the pot to a simmer and let is cook, partially covered, for another 30-40 minutes. And stir in the cognac if you’re using it.

Now for the gratinée. Jonah and I didn’t follow instructions, but rather chose to just try out our own process and see if it worked. It did. Turn on your broiler (we put ours on high). Pour the soup into oven safe bowls, and stir in about 1 Tbl of the cheese. Toast whatever bread your using (we used the bread I made in the previous post) until it’s hard. Butter the toast, and set it afloat on the soup. Now put on as much cheese as your little heart desires. We probably did 1/3 of a cup per bowl of soup. Put the bowls on a foil-lined baking sheet, and pop it in the oven. I watched the soups in the oven, and when the cheese was bubbling and starting to turn golden brown, I pulled them out of the oven. Be careful as the bowls will be HOT. Put them on plates and warn whoever is eating them not to touch the bowl, only the plate. Serve and enjoy!