As I’ve stated before, I do not like onions. After a recent visit to Carnegie’s in Ballard, I am forgiving French Onion soup. For Christmas, I made it and I am grateful. I bought Mayan Sweet onions for this recipe. The sweeter the better. Whether you buy Maui Sweet, Walla Walla, or flibble flabble, as long as the onions are sweet the soup will be good. The only real flavors in this soup are coming from the onions, stock, and wine (I used wine and cognac). Do yourself a favor and make your own stock. It’s cheap, easy, and worlds better than canned stuff. Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio outlines the basic stock ratio of 3 parts water to 2 parts bone. Since I didn’t take pictures of my stock method, I’ll show you Elise Bauer’s recipe. It looks pretty similar to what I did. Make a good stock and you’ll have a great soup.
Caramelizing the onions is the most vial step here. The heat needs to be high enough to caramelize them, but not too high to burn them. I set my stove to 6 out of 10. Let the onions sit for a while to caramelize, then stir occasionally. Not too often though. They have to sit and burn just a bit. Depending on the amount of onions you use, this step can take 10 minutes or 30 minutes. I used two large onions and it took about 10-15.
Gruyere is a great cheese. It’s sweet with slight saltiness. This makes it perfect for this soup. It does make me wonder why the French would use Swiss cheese for their soup, since France has more varieties of cheese than any other country in the world (there are over 1,000). Gruyere is great on ham sandwiches or paninis too. I love it.
I love it even more this way. I went a little crazy on the cheese. It made a thick layer prohibiting me from getting to the soup without a struggle. But it was a struggle I was willing to fight. The soup was salty, sweet, smoky, beefy, and just damn good. I’m slowly starting to like onions. But I’ll never like them raw…ever…except for in salsa :).
All in all, it was better than Carnegie’s.
French Onion Soup
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 T olive oil
1/2 t sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef stock
1/2 cup wine
splash of cognac (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/4 t dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices french bread, 3/4″ to 1″ thick
grated Gruyere cheese
I made exactly three soup servings, so quantities can be adjusted for more.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, saute the onions in olive oil over medium high heat until well browned, 10-30 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it so they don’t burn. Add the sugar after a few minutes to help the caramelization.
Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the stock, wine, and cognac and deglaze the pan scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the bay leaf and thyme and stir. Cover partially, lower heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point, adjust flavor with salt and pepper. (side note: if your stock isn’t strongly flavored, you can add demi glace if you have it, like in jar form).
Ladle into oven proof soup bowls or a large baking dish if you don’t have them. Cover with toast and cheese. The amount of cheese is up to you. I like a full handful per bowl. Put under the broiler set to low until the cheese bubbles. Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler so it doesn’t burn too fast. Keep an eye on it as this could take 3 minutes or up to 5 or 6 minutes. When the cheese bubbles and is browned slightly, it’s done.
*next up…Visit to Voltarre…*
Filed under: my grindz |