Weather almost always dictates my dining choices. Fall in Colorado (actually any season in Colorado) tends to keep me on my toes food-wise switching from soups and other comfort foods to light meals like salads and sandwiches.
Monday’s rain was delightful and resulted in a large pot of French Onion Soup.
Having never made the soup before I consulted a few different recipes before compiling one of my own.
I started with five yellow onions and sliced into thin, half-moon pieces. The onions were then saut/ed in butter, salt and garlic for 45 minutes, until they became golden brown and soft.
I then added two cups of white cooking wine and allowed the entire mixture to reduce to a light caramel colored syrup-like thickness.
At this point I transferred everything into my soup pot and added beef broth, chicken broth, herbs and brought the soup back to a boil. The broths I used were both low-sodium so that I could have better control over how salty my soup got; too much salt is hard to fix but not enough is easy.
While that was on the stove I started slicing and grating the cheese over my bread. Normally the bread would be toasted and then a slice of cheese would be melted over the top but I am not a huge fan of soggy bread so I chose to do large “croutons” on the side.
The cheese on top of the “croutons” was Gruyere, which is a hard, yellow, cows-milk cheese named after a town in Switzerland. It has a light enough taste that it doesn’t over power the other ingredients and melts extremely well. In a pinch Swiss cheese will work just as well and is cheaper in this case, but I prefer the Gruyere.
The stray from tradition worked out pretty well because it gave my eaters a choice to either have bread as a side dish or eat it in the soup.
When all was said and done French Onion soup was a great way to finish off a day playing the part as either the side dish or the main meal.
L’Chaim and B’Tay Avon (to life and eat well).
French Onion Soup
5 sweet onions (like Vidalias)
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups white wine
16 ounces low sodium beef broth
16 ounces low sodium chicken broth
thyme and rosemary sprigs
1 loaf French bread
1 cup Fontina or Gruyere cheese, grated (Swiss can be substituted for a lower cost meal)
Trim the ends off each onion then halve lengthwise. Remove peel and finely slice into half moon shapes.
In a large saut/ pan melt butter over medium heat. Once butter has melted add a layer of onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Repeat layering onions and salt until all onions are in the skillet. Do not try stirring until onions have sweated down for 15 to 20 minutes.
After that, stir occasionally until onions are golden and reduced to approximately 2 cups. This should take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Do not worry about burning.
Add enough wine to cover the onions and turn heat to high, reducing the wine to a syrup consistency.
Add broths and herbs. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
Place oven rack in top 1/3 of oven and heat broiler.
Cut French bread in rounds large enough to fit mouth of oven safe soup crocks. Place the slices on a baking sheet and shred cheese over them. Place rounds under broiler for 1 minute or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
Remove herbs and ladle soup into crocks leaving one inch to the lip. Place bread round on top of soup and enjoy!