Wednesday, April 23, 2014

French Onion Soup

When I was in high school, my father would award my stellar academic success bribe me to get good grades by promising me a meal at the restaurant of my choice (he clearly knew me well). These special celebratory meals would always include fine white tablecloths, great views of San Diego, French onion soup, and creme brûlée.

There is something about French onion soup that is a true comfort meal to me. It's bubbly and crispy cheese, soaked baguette, and rich soup with oodles of onions is a perfect starter to a fancy dinner or a great accompaniment to a salad for lunch. The French truly perfected this recipe.

Luckily for us, French onion soup is easy enough to bring home (now, if only creme brûlée were easier!). It does take a few hours, but I highly recommend this recipe for a Sunday night. If you're vegetarian, simply sub in vegetable broth instead of beef broth. Extra bonus--the recipe calls for red wine, so you might as well split the rest of the bottle between you and your date!

French Onion Soup

Recipe from Tyler Florence

1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
3 heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 25-35 minutes.

Add the wine, bring to a boil, and reduce heat, and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes.

Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into bowls, then top with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls in the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

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