Tuesday, February 21, 2012

French Onion Soup

The past few weeks have been rather challenging at work...ridiculously busy.  There hasn't been much time for making/baking (sadness).  However, there was a bit of time this weekend and some yummy comfort food was in order!  I'd been talking about making French Onion Soup for ages, and finally did it.

The results were fantastic.  This dark, sweet, and savory soup is just perfect for these gray and rainy (and uninspiring) days of late.  I'm a sucker for caramelized onions anyway, but feature them in soup and I'm a happy gal.

I used some local artisan rosemary bread to toast, and then some local cheese (Beecher's again!) to broil on top.  VERY flavorful and a perfect combination, as I had hoped.  I don't have any large oven-proof soup bowls, so I couldn't broil everything directly together, but making little toast crouton thingys worked great.

The only downside?  It only made four servings.  So, next time I'll definitely double the batch!

French Onion Soup
(adapted from the French cooking class at Cook's World - Chef Philippe Thomellin)
Serves 4

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp. canola oil
3/4 lb. thinly sliced onions
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 quart beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. ground sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf of your favorite crusty bread, sliced into 1" slices, toasted
1 cup grated gruyere cheese (or favorite cheddar or mild blend)

In a heavy 4 quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter with the oil.  Add the onions, & stir to coat with the oil.  Cover the pan & cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent.  Uncover pan & raise heat to medium-high and stir in sugar.  Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions have turned an even, deep golden brown.

Lower heat to medium and stir in flour.  Cook slowly, stirring continually, for a minute or two, to brown the flour lightly.  Remove from heat.

In soup pot, heat beef broth with herbs, and stir in onions.  Deglaze onion pan with wine.  Pour into soup pot with other ingredients.  Stir and simmer for 30-40 minutes to develop flavors.

When done, preheat broiler.  Toast bread.  Remove from oven, and divide grated cheese and top bread.  (If you need more cheese - add it!  I'm always a proponent of more cheese!)  Put back in oven and leave under broiler until golden and bubbly.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with giant cheesy crouton.

If you have ovenproof mini crocks, ladle soup in, top with toasted bread and sprinkle on cheese.  Broil until golden and bubbly.


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