Monday, January 30, 2012

French Onion Soup

We finally had a bit of winter weather here in Northern California this past week. Perhaps we'll be able to hit the slopes now on real snow. has come back around to high 60's, Spring-like weather within 24 hours, so it will probably be melted before I can hit 'publish' on this post.

The day of heavy rains, I pulled out all the stops on my comfort food inclinations. Much tea was consumed. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Crockpot stew accompanied by warm French dipping bread. French onion soup with lots of gooey cheese.

This was my first encounter with French onion soup. Stephen's been talking about it every time there is a drop of rain from sky. After 48 hours non-stop, it was time.

Caramelized onions steeped in a rich beef broth, topped in a generous layer of cheese-covered bread. It doesn't get much better than this. Well, maybe enjoying it in a Paris bistro. But this is considerably less expensive....

French Onion Soup

3 large onions, finely sliced
2 T. olive oil
dash of sugar
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 c. beef stock
1/3 c. dry red wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
slices of French bread
1/2 c. grated Gruyere or other Swiss cheese (I used Jarlsburg)

Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for about 30-40 minutes, adding sugar after about 10 minutes to aid in the caramelization process. Watch them carefully, stirring every few minutes to ensure they don't burn. Scrap up burnt bits from the bottom, as these greatly enhance the flavor of the soup. The onions are done when they are soft and browned. Stir in garlic, cooking for about 1 minute to unlock the flavor.

Pour in beef stock and red wine. Mix in thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow it to cook for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using oven-proof bowls or ramekins, pour a serving into each bowl. Top with a piece of bread (or a few if it is a small baguette) and sprinkle a generous helping of cheese on top. Place in oven about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy with additional bread to soak up the delicious broth and a glass of the leftover red wine.

We ate leftovers the next day with grilled cheese sandwiches...mmmm, yum!

1 comment:

mezzogirl said...

This was so delicious! I often daydream about making it again, it is still Lent and we have a few Fridays left! :)