Monday, March 3, 2014

sunday best: french onion soup!


it's french onion soup! i have a confession: i have never liked french onion soup. but seeing as we were all feeling a little sickish, soup sounded good, and we've just had all the other soups one too many times this winter.

smitten kitchen, if you don't know her, is a culinary goddess. she has yet to let me down. so when i came across this recipe, sunday dinner was foretold. i won't tell you that i loved it, because i still don't love it. there's something about that combination of sweet caramelized onions and slightly sour beef broth that doesn't exactly tickle my palate. but! it was definitely not bad, and loverboy tells me it was really good. so.


should you wish this french onion soup to be a part of your life too:

French Onion Soup
from Smitten Kitchen

4-5 yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
8 cups beef broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. brandy or cognac (optional--i made it without)
1 Tbsp. grated raw onion (optional, in my opinion)
1-2 cups swiss or gruyere (i used a combination)
1 Tbsp. butter melted
french bread, cut into 12-16 1-inch rounds and toasted till hard (or just toast and slice as normal)

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown (this didn't work for me using a stainless steel pot; i had to crank the heat up real high and it still took over an hour).

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed.  Stir in the cognac, if using.

Smitten Kitchen has the following directions for toasting bread and baking it with the cheese on top of the soup in the oven which sounds delicious, but we didn't, because we're just foolhardy like that. The following steps are therefore optional in this recipe. If you feel you too lack the wisdom of the broiled soups, you can skip the whole oven step, top the soup with cheese and simply serve the bread on the side, with melted cheese on top.

Or, go ahead and be by the book, how nerdy of you. It's your call:

Preheat oven to 325. Arrange ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bring the soup back to a boil and divide among bowls. To each bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon grated raw onion and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Stir to combine. Dab your croutons with a tiny bit of butter and float a few on top of your soup bowls, attempting to cover it. Mound grated cheese on top of it.

Bake soups on tray for 20 minutes, then preheat broiler. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top lightly. Grab pot holders, and serve immediately.

Enjoy! I mean, I guess. ;)

****EDIT: (3/4/14)
this soup was actually wonderful the next day! maybe it's better when it's had a chance to sit overnight. or maybe i just like it better when i have fewer onions to eat;)

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