Well, today I gave French Onion Soup a whirl. I have been jonesing for FOS for a long time, remembering fondly L’Hotel Sofitel’s offering. I looked up some recipes on Food Network, and picked a couple that had oodles of 5 Star reviews. I ended up with Tyler Florence’s and Anne Burrell’s recipes, but they differed somewhat. I liked Tyler’s use of beef stock and red wine, instead of Anne’s chicken stock and sherry, but Anne’s use of really carmelized onions appealed. Iguana Man, as always, was a great help as he took the time to find the Gruyere Cheese (I must say, I wasn’t impressed with the taste of it when I opened it…but grated and melted….it DOES make the soup).
As I was cooking, I didn’t like the look of any of it, actually, so I kind of improvised, and WOW! Best tasting French Onion Soup I ever did have. (It would probably be better if I had a working broiler, but the nuclear cooking device sufficed quite well). My take on it:
6 Large Sweet Onions (Vidalia); 4 Bay Leaves; 2 tsp. dried thyme; 3 cloves garlic, chopped; 4 tbsp. butter; 2 tbsp. vegetable oil; 1 1/2 cups Red Wine, 1 Qt. Beef Stock; 1 Quart Water; 1 1/2 tbsp. Beef Base; 2 tbsp. Flour; 1 Baguette French Bread; 1/2 lb. Gruyere Cheese, grated fine, Kosher Salt & fresh ground Pepper to taste.
Slice thin (used my new mandoline, WOOT!) 4 onions. In a large soup pot, melt the butter, add oil, bring to almost smoking hot and add onions, season w/about 1 tsp. salt and two dozen turns of the pepper mill. Stir to coat, reduce heat to low medium, cover and cook for 1/2 hour. Remove lid, add thyme, and continue to cook on medium low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, to remove moisture and carmelize the onions. Be patient, this takes time…almost an hour. All moisture should cook off, if not, turn up the heat, stirring constantly, until onions are mostly dry. Again on medium low heat, add flour, stir well, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the wine, continue to stir for another ten minutes or so, until the mixture is kind of a mushy red paste.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef broth, water, and beef base. Pour into soup pot, and add the bay leaves. Turn up the heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. While doing this, peel and slice into narrow, fine slices, the remaining two onions. Add to the pot, bring back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for another 45 minutes. Correct the seasoning (but I thought the salt was just right).
When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Slice the Baguette into diagonal 1/2″ slices, 2 – 3 per serving, depending on the size of your bowls. Toast the slices in the toaster or a grill pan. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls, top with the French Bread croutons, and sprinkle generously with the shredded Gruyere. Broil until cheese is melted and slightly brown (this is where I used the nuclear cooking device).
~ Blonde Gator
(Pictures to follow)….Gosh, my travel blog has turned into a foodie blog…go figure. Now that I’m not road tripping, I have to do something fun! Did I mention I made Eggs Benedict for the troops today, homemade Hollandaise (a tad overthickened, live and learn, but Yum-O)? I put the delicioso Costco smoked salmon on Mom’s, I suppose it wasn’t really Benedict, but she was happy with it, so I was too. Urbie Moocher thought he should have some, he squeaked like a broken spoke, the little rat fink beggar kitten. NO BEGGING IN MY KITCHEN!