in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Friday, December 7, 2012

French Onion Soup

Comfort food comes in many forms and soup is one that is easy to make and relatively cheap.  This recipe is my take on a classic. I hope you enjoy it one evening soon.
French Onion Soup
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing on bread
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
8 cups sliced onions
1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons flour
4 cups water
2 tablespoons beef stock paste
4 ounces Swiss or Gruyere cheese
4 to 5 slices sour dough or dense, artisan type bread
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Place oil and butter in pan. When butter is melted, stir in onions and toss to coat with fat. Reduce heat to medium, cook onions for 20 to 25 minutes, or until deeply golden, stirring occasionally so that the onion pieces brown evenly. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook and stir another 3 or 4 minutes. Deglaze with the water, scrap the bottom of the pan to loosen the fond. Add beef stock paste and stir well. Increase heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the bread slices with olive oil and tear them into bite size pieces. Place on a baking sheet and broil them for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside. Grate cheese and set aside. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Ladle soup into 4 to 6 oven proof bowls. Top with toasted bread pieces and then with cheese. Place pans on a baking sheet and bake soup for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Hints: Slice onions into lengthwise slivers, round slices are more difficult to eat. The bread in bite size pieces also makes for less messy eating. Cooking the onions slowly and for a long time is key to the right taste and texture. I like to use a mix of sweet white and yellow onions for the best flavor, about half and half. This is a great main dish soup but works in appetizer portions as well.
I really enjoy a beautiful bowl of warm, cheesy soup on a cold winter night. The caramelized onions combined with the beef broth, toasted bread and cheese is a remarkable flavor combo. No wonder it is a classic. It is easy to make and fairly inexpensive, just what we need this winter.

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