Saturday, October 30, 2010
French Onion Soup
If I had to guess, I would say that many restaurants don't provide the soup with the quality of ingredients it really deserves. I use a high quality beef stock that isn't overly salty - and never beef bouillon cubes - combined with a healthy dose of red wine. I've seen recipes that call for white wine or even flat champagne, but I think the tannic notes in the wine provide body and balance to the mix.
This recipe makes 8-10 bowls, which is considerably more than my husband and I can eat in an evening. Luckily, this soup only gets better when serving it the second and third days - just keep the soup, baguette, and gruyere separate until ready to serve. There's not much more to say about this recipe - except that it is really, really good. Really.
French Onion Soup
Makes 8-10 bowls
3 T. unsalted butter
5 large sweet onions, peeled, halved, and slice 1/4" thick (about 8 c. total)
1 1/2 c. red wine
32 oz. high quality, low-sodium beef stock
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 T. apple cider vinegar
16 oz. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
Baguette slices, 3/4" - 1" thick
Gruyere cheese (1/4 cup or more shredded per bowl)
In a large skillet with high sides, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is foaming add the onions to the skillet (it will be very full); add 1/2 t. salt. Cover skillet with lid or tent with loose foil. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until onions have just begun to soften and reduce. Remove lid/foil, and continue to cook onions, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reduced and onions are golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Transfer onion mixture to a large stock pot over medium-low heat. Add red wine to the onion mixture, and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the beef stock, chicken or vegetable stock, and apple cider vinegar, as well as the thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and 1/4 t. pepper. Simmer 45 minutes to an hour uncovered; taste - add salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle soup into broiler-safe bowls or crocks; cover with baguette slices. Top with shredded gruyere cheese, and place under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Serving suggestion: Serve a simple green salad of butter lettuce, mache and/or other baby lettuces dressed lightly with white wine vinaigrette (1 t. dijon mustard, 1 T. white wine vinegar, and 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, S&P) and topped with a sliver of shaved parmesan cheese.