French Onion Soup (Recipe)
A simple recipe for a cheesy classic
By Lynn Hazlewood
This post is supposed to make its Interweb debut on the day the Mayan calendar predicts will be the end of the world, so I’m inclined to dash something off and spend my remaining time drinking Prosecco and eating bonbons with my loved ones, just in case. But one keeps calm and carries on, as the popular slogan has it.
Onward then. As we nosh our way through the holidays, one way we at our house compensate for overdoing it at the festive trough is by skipping a “real” dinner a couple of times a week and going the soup-and-salad route. Onion soup, all deep, dark and cheesy, is one of our fall-backs, and so satisfying I suspect the calorie count’s a lot higher than I think. But don’t tell me.
Here’s our recipe. It takes a while to cook, but after the initial stirring, you can let it simmer on its own. It’s best if you use a rich homemade beef broth or the better brands that come in a carton rather than the overly salty, canned types. This makes 6 servings.
About 5 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
3 Tbsp flour
½ cup dry white wine
2 qts of beef broth
Baguette, cut in ¾ inch-thick slices, lightly toasted
½ lb Gruyere, grated
Put the onions, butter and oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cover and cook slowly for about 15 minutes.
Uncover the pot, stir in the salt and sugar (which helps the onions to brown) and continue to cook very slowly for about 30 to 40 minutes more, stirring often, until the onions are caramelized to a deep golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step.
Meanwhile, heat the beef broth in a separate pan.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and continue stirring for a few minutes more. Then pour in the warm beef broth and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into individual ovenproof bowls, float a baguette slice or two on each and top with a generous layer of grated cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler or into a hot oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
Serve along with more baguette and maybe a green salad. Finish up with chocolates and you’ll be ready to face the next doomsday prediction.
Speaking of chocolates, I missed a chocolatier in my Christmas gift roundup last time: Lucky Chocolates in Saugerties has a wonderful assortment of hand-made, organic, fair-trade choccies, including vegan ones and some shaped like animals or musical instruments. You can get custom shapes, too. Check out the heavenly dark orange truffles. One thing the Mayans got right: they considered chocolate a divine gift.
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