Monday, January 25, 2010

French Onion Soup

If there's one thing I can always count on its that if French Onion soup is on a menu my husband will be ordering a bowl full. And then he'll always ask if I can make it & why I haven't.

Taking that last part as a not so subtle hint, I decided it was time to make some for the poor man. Needless to say when he came home from work to smell the sweet scent of caramelized onions in the air he had one question for me - "Is that French Onion soup?!?" He was pretty jazzed when the answer was indeed YES!

This is a soup that takes a long time to do right. Not that is complicated, its anything but. However to get the onions deeply caramelized like we need takes a long time. Plan on at least 3 hours for this soup to cook. You simply can not rush the onions caramelization process.

I don't know if its the melted cheese, the toasted bread croûton or the delightfully sweet yet savory soup broth but French Onion soup is pretty magickal. Its the perfect snowy day got no place to go type of soup. Enjoy!

French Onion Soup
serves 4
2 large onions (2 lbs worth)
lots of kosher salt
1 t dry or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 c dry white wine divided
4 oz. swiss cheese or Gruyère cheese
4 slices french or sourdough bread, bias sliced and toasted

-crocks for broiling

Slice onions thin from pole to pole. In a dutch oven or other large heavy bottomed pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and about 1 t kosher salt. Stir well to cover onions in salt and oil. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until onions have given off a lot of juice.Remove the lid, reduce heat to low and allow onions to brown and caramelize. This will take a long time, about 2 hours. Stir onions every 15 min to avoid burning and hot spots. Do not crank the heat to speed this process up or you'll be stuck with bitter tasting soup. You want deeply caramelized onions, not burnt ones. This can only be done over low heat for a long time.

this is about an hour into the caramelization process

Once onions are mahonany in color add 1/4 c white wine and deglaze pan, scraping up all caramelized bits from bottom. Continue to cook onions, wine will cook out, that's ok. You'll deglaze twice with wine before adding the stock.

After 2nd deglaze, notice the deep caramel color on the wooden spoon, this is the fond from the bottom of the pan AKA FLAVOR
Once the onions have been deglazed twice and are very deeply browned add the stock and herbs. Taste, adjust salt seasoning if need be. Simmer soup for 30 minutes, adding more stock or water if needed. After all this is a soup :-)

Once soup is cooked portion into oven proof crocks. Top with 1-2 bread slices, top that with the cheese. If you have block swiss shred it. If you have swiss slices then dice the cheese to mimic shredded cheese, for ease of melting. Put crocks on a baking sheet and put under broiler. Keep an eye on them this goes faster than you think! Once the cheese is browned and soup is bubbling remove from oven.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 311.1
Total Fat 15.6 g
Saturated Fat 6.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.4 g
Cholesterol 31.1 mg
Sodium 1,232.0 mg
Potassium 190.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 12.5 g


Kelsea and Andrew said...

Looks fantastic Andrea!

Tonya said...

I just saw some crocks on super sale and wanted to buy them but wasn't sure what I'd use them for. They would have been perfect for french onion soup. Sure wish I would have bought them! This looks delicious.

Heather Ash said...

French Onion Soup is one of my favorites! I LOVE LOVE LOVE carmelized onions. When we made Daddy Burgers the other day, hubby only wanted to cook half the onion (to a wilted stage) to put on the hamburgers. I cut up the rest of them and slightly carmelized them and put the whole half of the onion on my burger. I think I had more onion than beef on my burger! I will be making this recipe soon!

Michelle said...

This looks fantastic. Little crocks are on my huge wish list of kitchen items. :)

PS You're in CO Springs! We just moved from there last June! I miss it very much.

All Our Fingers in the Pie said...

Hi, I was just in Colorado Springs yesterday! I'm driving home from TN. Love onion soup. Also, check my blog for a gift!

kitchen roach/galley roach said...

I totally rushing with onion soup.

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