We had a lot of snow over the weekend, it was beautiful to watch it fall from the safety of inside a semi warm house. Our wood stove is not particularly efficient.
The snow has already melted thanks to three days of solid rain.
It’s gross out, and I don’t want to go outside. So I’m cleaning things inside.. which is extremely surprising.
With all of this crap weather, I wanted to make some soup. I realized I have around ten pounds of onions. Naturally, the next step was to make French Onion Soup.. or Soupe à l’oignon.
I really love melted cheese.
Also, I’m in the process of learning how to use a manual setting.. so forgive my photography skills. I’m a work in progress.
I cut the onion in half and then slice it cross wise to create half-moon onions.
The most important part of this soup is taking the time to caramelize the onions. I’ve read on several blogs and food website recipes that it takes about fifteen minutes to do this. Lie.
You’re going to need to devote half an hour to forty five minutes worth of stirring and watching these onions to get the level of caramelization you need. After they are properly cooked, deglaze the pot with one-third a cup of white wine or sherry.
I like to eat cheese while waiting. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.
Back in the states its standard practice to buy boxes of broth, but after finding powdered bouillon over here I won’t ever go back to that. I know at most super markets they sell a product called Better than Bouillon, it’s around eight dollars, but is much more cost-effective than any boxed broth. You’ll need three tablespoons of this stuff for 4 to 6 cups of water.
For seasoning I cut rosemary and two types of thyme from our garden, fresh ground pepper, and a light sprinkle of salt. Dried herbs will work just as well. I add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne to give a smooth heat. It’s important to season for your own personal taste.
After adding the herbs and water, bring the soup to a boil for ten minutes and then reduce it to a simmer for an hour.
During the last bit of cooking, slice and toast some bread, and shred the cheese. I used Gruyère, but a mixture of swiss and parmesan would produce the same sort of taste. You can also just use any cheese you have on hand.
Use your broiler to melt the cheese on the toasts, either on a baking sheet or directly in the soup bowl (so long as it is over safe).
If you’re like me, eat the cheese and bread first, melt more cheese onto more bread and then eat the soup.
If you have more self-control, well that’s good for you.
Official Ingredients and Procedures:
5 large yellow onions
1 red onion
2 large shallots
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbls butter
2 tbls olive oil
1/3 cups white wine
2 springs of fresh rosemary, a bunch of thyme (or 1/2 tbls of each dried)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 to 6 cups of water
3 tbls powdered bouillon, 2 1/2 bouillon cubes, 2 16 oz. boxes of broth
salt and pepper
Slice the onions, shallots, and garlic. Heat the butter and olive in a large pot over medium heat, once melted add all of the chopped ingredients. Caramelize the onions, stirring about every three to five minutes. Moving the onions will keep them from burning. This will take up to 45 minutes. Once caramelized, add the cayenne, salt, and pepper. Deglaze the pan with 1/3 cup of white wine. Add the water, the bouillon, and herbs. Bring it to boil for ten minutes and simmer for 45 to an hour.
Once the soup is ready, shred 1/2 a cup of cheese, add grated cheese to toasts. Melt the cheese under a high broiler for five minutes.