Saturday, July 14, 2007
Making French Onion Soup is as easy as making carmelized onions.
.75 pounds yellow onion, cut into thin strips
1 qt low sodium chicken stock
1 qt beef stock
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of tarragon
freshly ground white pepper
a few cloves of garlic
1.5 cups dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)
french bread slices
To caramelize the onions: Add olive oil and a pat of butter to a saute pan set on medium; when the butter bubbles, add the onions and stir to distribute the fats. Using both olive oil and butter raises the smoke point and onions smells particularly nice when they are cooked with butter. Cover and let the onions sweat for 10-15 minutes. Add a few smashed cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme and tarragon. Raise heat to medium high, and cook the onions uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Lower the heat if the onions brown to quickly. If the onions take to long to brown, you can sprinkle a small amount of sugar over them to start the carmelization. Make sure that you spend the time to make the onions brown; the onions will not take on any more color once they are added to the stock.
While the onions are caramelizing, heat an equal mixture of chicken and beef stock. When the onions are done, ladle this stock over the onions. Add 1.5 cups white wine. (I prefer white wine to red because too much red wine will give the broth a reddish tint. However, in small amounts, red wine will help to deepen the color of the broth. If you use red, then I would suggest only adding 1/2 cup or so.) Add the bay leaf, a few more sprigs of thyme and tarragon, and a few cloves of smashed garlic. Heat until boiling, and then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add water as necessary if the broth is too concentrated, and adjust salt and pepper. Skim any foam that rises. To skim, I use a spoon and dip it in a cup or bowl full of cold water to clean it in between skims. Remove herbs sprigs after the simmer.
While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 400. Bake a few slices of the bread for 10 minutes or until crispy.
To serve, ladle some onions into the bottom of some crock pots. Place a slice of crispy bread on top, and ladle the soup on top until the bowl is almost full. Sprinkle grated cheese over or thin slices of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubble and brown at the edges. Serve immediately.