Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Soup of the French Onion

So we had a craving or at least I did and so did Mackenzie. So she agreed to join us for dinner last night as I put the finishing touches on the French Onion Soup. Brenda had a late lunch so we ate a bit later than usual and we had a visitor who should have stayed and had soup with us but did not. Sorry Mvi,  but you missed a good meal, you should have stayed.

The soup is not really that big of a deal to make. It's hard to screw up really. I did a little research and while most of the recipes called for beef or chicken broth as a base, I was intrigued and found a highly recommended stock made by Swanson. I used the low salt variety as I like to control my saltiness.  Sam's Club had a large bag of even larger sweet onions and I peeled about 4 or 5 of them.

I have a nice 5 quart cast iron that sauteed the onions for me till they were golden and it took a good hour, so don't be in such a rush.  The variety of onion really makes a difference. I thought this might be too sweet but it calmed down after a bit.

French Onion Soup

4-5 large sweet onions but use what you like, red, yellow.
2 cloves minced garlic
4 T butter
1 cup red wine
2 t thyme
1 bay leaf
1 T beef bouillon before I add the salt and I get a little flavor boost in addition.  I use the Better Than Bouillon brand.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
1 t Fish sauce
1 t apple cider vinegar

2 cartons no salt Beef Stock, chicken stock or vegetable stock.

Toasted bread
Swiss, provolone or whatever melt-y cheese you love
White Truffle butter (op) I just happen to have a tub and used it to butter the toast before broiling.  Yes please, there are no rules here.

I used my trusty mandolin and had my way with the onions in short order. I added the butter to the dutch oven and then the onions with a generous dose of salt and then let the onions cook down for about an hour keeping a close watch and very low flame, I added the garlic after a few minutes. They were golden and a nice fond on the pan came up with the addition of the wine. I added the herbs, bouillon and then the broth and allowed it to come to a boil then lowered to a simmer until the onions were good and soft, about 45 minutes. I was in no hurry.  Checked the seasoning, added salt as needed and the cider vinegar and fish sauce. Remove the bay leaf.

Spoon a good dose of soup into a heat proof bowl and top with the buttered toast and a healthy dose of your favorite cheese. Broil till the cheese is bubbly.  How is that for decadence? I read a recipe where they dosed the soup with cheese then added the crouton and more cheese on top. Too much to hope for? I think not. Great warming no meat meal.

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