March 4, 2010

French Onion Soup

One of my favorite soup during the winter is Onion Soup, a popular food for the poor in Roman times, as onions were plentiful and easy to grow. French Onion Soup is the French version using caramelized onions in beef broth, (a significant culinary improvement in my opinion). The basic and important trick to this soup is a good beef stock and the proper caramelization of the onions. It takes hours of slowly stirring and cooking the onions over a high to medium heat to get a rich brown color, until the juices from the onions has evaporated and the sugar in the onions begins to brown or caramelized. Tips: Keep onions in the refrigerator the night before cooking or soak them in water to prevent eyes from tearing when chopping. :()
Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
10 large red or yellow onions, peeled and slice thinly
6-7 cups beef broth or 5 cans of low-sodium beef stock
½ cup dry red wine
3-4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, rosemary)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Gruyere cheese, grated
French bread, sliced and toasted
1. Peeled, quartered and sliced onions thinly.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoon oil and sauté the onions over high heat, stirring frequently till it softened and reduced in size. Stir well scraping the brown from the bottom of the pan.
3. Turn heat to medium and let it simmer until it turns brown and caramelized, but not burned. This process of stirring takes me about 2 hours.
4. Add bouquet garni, stock, wine and stir to mix, cover and let it simmer on low. Season to taste with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
5. While soup is simmering, prepare the croutons. Spread bread with oil or butter and arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in 400°F oven until bread is toasted and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
6. To serve, ladle soup in individual oven-proof soup bowls or deep ramekins. Place one or two slices of toast and sprinkle top with cheese. Reduce oven heat to 350°F, put soup into the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. You can use the broiler to melt the cheese, and be careful as soup is very hot! Serve immediately.
Printable Recipe

No comments: