Wednesday, September 25, 2013

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup
It is with great personal injury that I bring you one of my all-time favorite soups. French Onion. When I was in culinary school it was my task one day to make the French Onion soup. When making soup for a restaurant you don't simply make a gallon, you make many gallons.

I remember cutting up pound after pound of onions and nearly losing my eyesight during the process. I adore onions, but in their raw state I seem to have issues. I don't just tear up, I have full-blown tears streaming down my face eyes swelling up moments - and that's with just one or two onions.

I would get through a couple onions and then race out of the kitchen to the girls' locker room and blow my nose, wipe my eyes, flush my face with water, sanitize my hands and then run back to the kitchen, sanitize hands again just inside the door and do it all again. I think I made the trip 5 or 6 times before I was done. 

Yesterday was a little easier as I was only cutting up 5 onions, but I still had to stop and deal with things before finishing.

French Onion Soup

No matter, this lovely soup is more than worth it. I like to use several different types of onion for my soup, though you can use all one kind if you wish. Whatever you do, make sure the onions are well caramelized before moving along with soup for the best flavor.

I did this in two ways, as well. In a large dish (ala Julia Child) and in individual bowls. Both ways are wonderful. I also like to use several different cheeses. This time it was Provolone, Parmesan and a bit of Mozzarella though I really love a good Swiss or Gruyere here, too. A perfectly stringy, gooey cheese experience to top this masterpiece.

French Onion Soup for Three

French Onion Soup
Serves: 6
Ready In: 1 hour and 10 minutes


1/4 cup olive oil
5 large onions (I used Vidalia, Spanish and Red here along with 3 shallots)
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup wine - something you like to drink - dry preferred 
2 quarts beef stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme - crushed
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
6 thick slices of French baguette - about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
8 ounces shredded cheeses 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. Peel and slice onions thinly. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add olive oil, onions, garlic, sugar and half the salt.
2. Cook onions until well caramelized - this can take 20 minutes.
3. Place baguette slices in the oven while onions are caramelizing. They should be toasty in about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
4. Add wine to onions and stir well. 
5. Pour in stock and add thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Remove bay leaf and ladle soup into 6 individual crocks or one large oven-proof bowl (3 quart would be best.)
7. Top with bread and sprinkle cheeses atop each slice.
8. Place into oven and bake for 30 minutes. 
9. Turn broiler on and allow cheese to brown and bubble. Serve carefully!

No comments: