Caramelized Onion & Kale Soup au Gratin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 head Lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 4 slices good bread, toasted
  • 7 ounces aged alpine-style cheese like Roth Grand Cru Reserve
  • 1 scallion, green part only, chopped, for garnish
  1. Caramelize the onions: Set a heavy pan over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt, then add the onions and cook, stirring very infrequently, until they sizzle and being to soften. Turn the flame to low, and allow the onions to slowly cook, caramelizing as they go. During this time, it is important to make sure the onions are spread as evenly as possible across the pan. Every 10 minutes or so, scrape the bottom and redistribute the onions so each gains the maximum amount of surface area. The intention is to slowly cook the onions so they sweeten in their own juices. If you stir too often, the onions will turn to mush. This process takes about 40 to 50 minutes. At the end, sprinkle the onions with salt. You can do this up to three days ahead of time. If you do, cool to room temp then store in the fridge.
  2. Make the kale: Heat a heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Film the bottom with olive oil, then add 3 garlic cloves and the kale. If there’s water clinging to the kale, that’s good. If not, add a tablespoon of water. Cover the pot to let the kale cook, then uncover and stir every 3 minutes or so, until the kale is wilted. Season with salt. You can make this in advance. If you do, cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge.
  3. Make the soup: combine the caramelized onions, cooked kale, chicken broth, and Chardonnay in a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors combine and the wine cook off. Taste for salt, adding enough to let the flavors pop.
  4. When ready to eat, preheat the oven to broil. Place the crocks in a baking pan that will hold them steady in the oven and ladle the soup into each, leaving about an inch on the top. Put one toast on each crock and then evenly distribute the cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted, just a few minutes–and keep an eye so the cheese doesn’t burn. Serve immediately, garnished with the scallions.
Recipe by Big Girls Small Kitchen at