Country onion soup is one of those delicious soups you can make when you think you have nothing in the house to cook. The speck is wonderful because of its smoky flavor, but smoked bacon, prosciutto, or ham could be a good substitute. Either way, you country onion soup will taste lovely. Onion soup is one of the most widespread dishes in the world, the most famous of which is the French-version “soupe à l’oignon.” Less famous is this Italian country-style soup. In fact, it is said that Catherine de’ Medici introduced this dish to the French court in 1533 when she wend to marry Henry II of Orléans, the King of France. Country onion soup was loved by the French and they immediately added it to their list of favorite recipes. Try it at least once and you will fall in love with it, too.
¼ cup extra–virgin olive oil
2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces speck, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons all–purpose flour
2 cups dry white wine
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano,, plus more for serving
grilled or toasted country bread, for serving
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and season with the salt. Cook the onions until softened, about 10 minutes, then stir in the speck. Push the onions and speck to one side, and add the flour. Let the flour toast for a minute or two, then mix it into the onions. Increase the heat to high, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Add 2 quarts of water, and bring to a rapid simmer.
Cover, and cook until the onions are tender and the soup has thickened, about 40 minutes. When you are ready to serve, turn off the heat and stir in the grated cheese. To serve the soup, place a piece of grilled bread in each bowl, and ladle the soup over the bread. Sprinkle country onion soup with a little more grated cheese, and serve.