bits and pieces

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gloriously Simple French Onion Soup

salut soupe soupe!
Oui oui, c'est vrai!

The easiest french onion soup in the world. I don't even really LIKE french onion soup and this was so easy it MADE me like it.

I've been cooking up a storm here in Sask trying to stay busy and positive about things, and what do you know mid-way through my soup cooking I got a job interview, hurrah! A job interview for an actual job - not just freelancing. Jubilation! Soup of employment for all!

We had an incredibly eclectic dinner last night of French onion soup, scalloped potatoes, and orange-rosemary-horseradish chicken. I have no idea what the common theme is but  this soup was a delightful opening course. The hands on time for this soup is maybe 15 minutes.


Stay in with your sweetiepie and offer to make dinner. This is a very impressive opening course, especially if your brulee the cheese with a blowtorch. On which note, everyone should have a culinary blowtorch. They're AWESOME.

So if you're sick of all things British now that the Royal Wedding's over, throw on some Edith Piaf, whip up a batch of this soup and impress your friends, family, or just yourself. This soup makes enough for two ramekins FILLED with soup. Double the recipe for bigger mugs/more people.

ingredients:
1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp olive oil
 2 cups of chopped onions
1/2 tbsp of brown sugar
2 cups of vegetable/beef stock (beef is traditional, but you can totally veg. this up)
1/2 cup red wine. I suppose you should use French wine but I used a Malbec. 
1/2 cup water
a pinch of rosemary and a pinch or two of thyme
1 cup of bread, cubed, toasted
enough cheese to cover your soup (this will depend on the size of your ramekins/cups). Traditionally you should use gruyere and/or swiss but my grocery store had NEITHER (I KNOW), so I used havarti and parmesan.
salt and peppah

other things you will need: 
a big sauce pan to make your soup in
I sauteed my onions in a frying pan but you could also just use the one sauce pot
a cheese grater
2 ramekins/oven proof dishes 
a stirrin' spoon
a cutting board + knife
  1. Melt your buttah and olive oil in your frying pan over medium heat. Add your onions, a pinch of salt, a bigger pinch of pepper, a pinch of thyme, rosemary, and your brown sugar. Cook your onions down, stirring occasionally until they start to caramelize. This will take about 15 - 20 minutes. 
  2. Put your stock in the sauce pot and start to heat. Don't let it boil but warm it up.
  3. Once your onions are browned, add your red wine to the pan to deglaze. Scrape your spoon around to make sure any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan get scraped off. 
  4. Add your onions-wine mixture to the stock pot. Add half of your water. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  5. In the meantime, assemble your bread. I used a stale baguette that I chopped into some cubes, tossed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme, and toasted for a few minutes in the oven. I suggest you do the same. It's a great way to use some stale bread. 
  6. If you are eating your soup immediately - proceed. If not you can keep your soup in this state until it's time to eat. 
  7. EAT ME. Preferably with a spoon.
  8. Taste your soup - if it's a bit salty, add some of the left over water. If you accidentally added too much water, just cook it down a bit. NO PROBLEM. Once your soup has reached its desired state, ladle it into your wee ramekins. Top with bread and then top bread with cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.
  9. IF you are blessed with a blowtorch - TORCH THEM. If not, and this is probably for the best, place your ramekins gently in the oven (on a baking sheet if you'd like to avoid the inevitable mess), and broil carefully for a minute or two until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

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