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VoxTalk, I’ve been sick. It’s getting colder and I’m getting sniffier . I NEED SOUP.
My trashcan is filling up with cans of Campbell’s and Progresso. But there’s only so much BPA I can put in my body without craving some homemade comfort. It’s time for the Culinaire Extraordinaire (yeah, right) to make a soup.
French Onion soup is probably my favorite. Panera, I’m looking at you. I’ve always wanted to make my own because it’s so elegant. Refined. Delicious.
But then I looked at recipes and saw how complex most recipes are for French Onion soup. We’re talking expensive ingredients (Gruyere) and, in some cases, 3+ hours of cooking.
I went with an “easy” recipe. This one takes about 40 minutes and tastes just as good as a restaurant dish. At least that’s what my taste-testers told me, but they could have been lying.
The basic recipe I followed is from Food.com, but I made a few modifications based on other recipes I looked at, such as the addition of the wine and the bay leaf. Also, the recipe called for Worcestershire sauce, but I didn’t have any. Oh, well.
- 2 large sweet onions
- 3 tbl. butter
- Salt and pepper
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 to 3 splashes of a deep red wine
- 28 oz. of beef broth (2 14 oz. cans)
- 10.5 oz. of beef consomme (regular can)
- 1 bay leaf
- Several dashes coriander
- Swiss cheese (I used slices)
- French bread, stale or toasted
- Slice the onions into quarter inch slices. If you like your soup to have long strips of onions, leave them as long strips. If you like your soup to have chunks that are more easily spooned into your mouth, cut the strips into smaller pieces.
- Melt butter in a large pot or saucepan.
- Drop the onions into the pot and let them cook down over medium heat. This part took me about 20 minutes, but my onions still had a little bit of a bite to them. Add salt and pepper as desired.
- Once the onions are super tender, add the garlic to the pot. Let these cook together for a couple of minutes.
- Splash some wine onto the onions and watch as they turn a pretty color. I got super excited by this, and probably added a little too much wine, but then again, who says wine has a limit? Let the wine soak into the onions for a couple more minutes.
- Add the beef broth and consomme, bay leaf and coriander. Let these the soup come to a boil for several minutes (If you plan to use a broiler, see below, you don’t have to boil for as long).
- Prepare your bowl for the onslaught of savory goodness. Lay slices of Swiss cheese along the bottom of the bowl and chunks of bread on top of this. Stale bread is fine, or you may want to toast the slices and tear or cut them into smaller chunks.
- When you’re ready, pour the soup (or ladle it) into the bowl on top of the cheese and bread.
- Get ready to slurp.
Some thoughts I had while cooking:
-When you first put the onions in the pot, it looks like the biggest amount of onions you have ever seen in your life. It’s a little overwhelming. But don’t worry; they will cook down to a manageable amount by the end.
-Make sure the onions are very tender. Don’t let them caramelize, but you don’t want to have to bite and crunch through them in the soup.
-If you have a broiler, use it! Pour soup in an oven-proof bowl, lay cheese over the top and stick it under the broiler until the soup bubbles and browns.
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