Monday, December 12

Countdown to Christmas -- Day 9 - Make a big pot of french onion soup for your family

Countdown to Christmas: 
Day 9
lighten your workload with soup
French Onion soup is hearty, rich and can sit all day long on your stove -- an easy dinner to feed your family while you are busy wrapping gifts.  Here's my recipe, which I have tweaked over time:  one part Ina Garten, one part Silver Palate, one part Julia Child.  I shared this on Nest last December when I featured my bloggy friends and their favorite Holiday recipes --  and I pull it out whenever I need a crowd pleaser.  Now I'm sharing my recipe with you today -- enjoy!
My French Onion Soup Recipe:
5 thinly sliced large yellow onions
1 shallot thinly sliced
4 garlic gloves sliced lengthwise
6 cups beef broth (either homemade or store bought)
3/4 Cup dry white wine 
(a French bordeaux is best)
2TBS butter for browning onionn
1TBS olive oil for browning onions
1 beef boullion cube
2 TBS cognac
1 TBS fresh thyme chopped
couple of pinches cracked black pepper
1 loaf of crusty french bread - (slice ahead of time and lay out on cookie sheet brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook until crisp)
1 thick slice of gruyere cheese for each bowl

What you need at home:

individual size oven-proof 
bowls or mini crock bowls
a good deep pan-- I use a deep cast iron pan
The key to infusing this soup with a deep, rich flavor is to carmelize the onions slowly over time. Slice the onions and shallots thinly and cook on medium heat with the butter/olive oil mixture stirring often. Keep a watchful eye because they cannot burn but must cook for 30 minutes until a caramel brown. After they reach the right level of dark brown, add the garlic and saute for a few minutes then add the beef broth and thyme and pepper and cook simmering. After 1 hour add the wine, beef boullon cube and cook on medium heat 30 more minutes. Add pepper to taste.  Add the cognac and cook on high for 10 minutes more with the top off to reduce a bit.
You've already made the crisp bread -- pour a ladle of soup with plenty of onions in each bowl, layer the toast and one slice of gruyere. Put on broil on the top shelf of your oven -- but watch closely because this should brown but not burn. Serve with a green mesculin salad and best with a simple vinegarette dressing of white wine, splash of balsamic, fresh herbs and good olive oil.