Monday, November 7, 2011

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is really simple to make, but it has to cook for a long time.  You can try the slow cooker French Onion Soup recipe that's going around Pinterest, but I can't image it would have the same flavor.  You have to caramelize the onions to get the flavor of French Onion Soup and it just takes an hour or so on top of the stove, no getting around it. 

But.....I ran out of time and I had to pick up the kids and take them hither and yon, knowing I wouldn't return home until after our usual dinner time.  So I used my slow cooker for the final cooking!  If I had been home, I would have just followed the recipe, but this worked great because I could just let it go on low for a few hours.  And I remembered to use the slow cooker liner so there was no extra clean up involved.  When I got home, I just popped the soup under the broiler with the bread and cheese and it was done in a few minutes.

This soup is seriously delicious.  Seriously.

French Onion Soup (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

5 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (4 or 5 onions)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
french bread
swiss cheese, grated

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes. They don’t need your attention; now would be a good time to touch up your eye makeup that you cried off during the onion chopping process!

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step, as it will build the complex and intense flavor base that will carry the rest of the soup.

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. Add bay leaf.  Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes.
****At this point, I instead transferred the soup to a crock pot and cooked it for a few hours on low.

To serve: cut french bread to fit broiler-safe bowls.  Broil bread on high for less than a minute, until browned on one side.  Put browned side down on top of each soup bowl and top with grated cheese (as much as you want).  Put bowls on a cookie sheet and broil soups until bubbly and golden.