Ps. She just got engaged, so hop on over to her blog and wish her congratulations :).
French Onion Soup is the perfect recipe when you have a few lazy hours on a chilly day and want to make your house smell amazing. It’s one of my very favorite wintertime meals, and it’s incredibly easy to make! Although caramelizing the onions takes a couple hours, you don’t need to keep a crazy watchful eye on them. While I was caramelizing the onions, I read wedding magazines (I just got engaged at the end of November!) and paused only occasionally to give them a stir. You can also caramelize the onions on the weekend and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to make the soup sometime during the week (on Wine-down Wednesday, perhaps).
This recipe requires a half cup of white wine. I used Tablas Creek's 2009 Bergeron for this recipe (like they say, don't cook with anything you wouldn't drink!). The wine itself was a lovely accompaniment to the soup - the bright herb notes stood up well to the soup's strong flavors.
Thanks for having me for Wine Down Wednesday, Haley! I hope you all have a lovely holiday season, and don’t forget to stop by Sweet Life Laur for more cooking inspiration.
French Onion Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds yellow or Spanish onions, peeled, trimmed and sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Herb sachet: (2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 8 peppercorns and 1 bay leaf, tied together in a cheesecloth)
- 2 quarts beef stock (my favorite is the Kitchen Basics brand). For a vegetarian version, mushroom stock is delicious, but a good vegetable stock will also work.
- 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
- 1 mini French baguette
- 2 cups Gruyère or Swiss cheese, coarsely grated
- 4 to 6 sprigs parsley, leaves finely chopped
1. Over medium heat, melt butter in a large pot (I prefer to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven, but any large pot will do!). Add onions and salt and toss to coat with butter. Let them "sweat" for a few minutes until slightly softened, then reduce heat to medium low. Add sugar and toss to coat.
2. Over the next 60-90 minutes, cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they turn an even, deep golden brown. As you can see in the picture, they reduce like crazy as the water cooks out. Take your time on this step - a deep caramelization is what gives this soup its' amazing flavor.
3. When the onions are a lovely dark brown, sprinkle with flour and cook for 3 minutes (you want to cook out the flour taste). Add the wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, and then slowly add the stock. Throw in the herb sachet and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 40 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. (Note: The cheese will add a little more saltiness, so go easy on the salt at this point). Stir in the brandy.
4. Preheat broiler. Slice the baguette into 1-inch slices and spread with butter or brush with olive oil. Cook under broiler for 2-3 minutes on each side, until nice and toasty.
5. Arrange 6 ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet. Bring soup back to a simmer and carefully ladle into bowls. Arrange croutons, trying to cover as much of the top as possible (it's okay to cut croutons in halves or quarters as needed). Pile cheese on top of croutons and broil tops for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
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