Friday, October 21, 2011

French Onion Soup

I've only had French Onion Soup once.  Everyone told me that it was the best French Onion Soup that they had ever had, so at our office Christmas party last year, I put a huge ladle full of French Onion Soup in a bowl.  The first bite was aweful.  I don't remember what it tasted like, I just remember that it was aweful and I had to find a way to conceal that I was throwing it away.  Especially since my officemates loved it so much.  So needless to say, I have been a tad afraid of French Onion Soup since last Christmas.

For this Recipe Swap, the theme was Soup and Stews and I got French Onion Soup from Joelen of What's Cookin' Chicago?.  I hand out links to Joelen's blog a lot because it has a great Freezer Meal section, but I've never actually tried any of her recipes.  Her recipe for French Onion Soup comes from Tyler Florence, who I adore.  So I was willing to give this recipe another shot.

French Onion Soup
adapted from What's Cookin' Chicago?, originally from Tyler Florence
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart beef broth
bread bowls (1 per person)
1/2 pound grated Gruyere

1) Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat.
2) Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft, about 50 minutes.
3) Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 20 minutes.
4) Discard the bay leaves. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
5) Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.  (I added a little of the gruyere to the soup as it was simmering)
6) When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread bowls on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
7) Ladle the soup in bowls and float the top of the bread bowl like a crouton on top of the soup.

My times were much different than the ones in the original recipe.  It took about two hours from the time that I threw the onions into the pot to the time the bread bowls came out of the oven.  This recipe makes quite a bit of soup.  We could have easily fed six or more people.

I wearily put the first spoonful into my mouth, and quickly exclaimed that it was nothing like the first bowl of French Onion soup that I had close to a year ago.  Jacob had never had French Onion Soup and he said that it was amazing.  It was hearty and cheesy and good and within fifteen minutes we had devoured our soup and the bowls.  I think that using two quarts of broth would have drowned out the onion flavor.  Using one quart of broth gave this dish a good balance of broth taste and onion taste.  The gruyere is such a strong cheese that it goes perfectly with this soup. 

The only thing that I didn't really enjoy was that my house smelled like onions for a long time.  The soup is worth it, but the odor lingered a lot longer than I thought it would.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you ended up liking this soup. It's usually delicious but can go horribly wrong very easily.

    Thanks for being part of the recipe swap!