Ooh la la have I got a winter warmer that will beckon you in from the cold: French Onion Soup! A classic bowl of oniony goodness that will fill you up, warm you up, and delight you.
Forewarned is fore-armed... you are going to have to slice 3 pounds of onions. If just the thought makes you want to cry, you can use a food processor to get through the pile you'll be using. That being said, it may seem that you have far too many onions, but don't worry they'll cook down to about one-quarter of their original volume.
So, in a wide soup pot, melt butter and slowly cook down Mount Onion until they become soft and start to turn deep blonde in color&151;it's important that they not brown.
Stir in some flour and cook that for a bit, then add some wine, then beef (or chicken) stock, a sprig each of thyme and parsley and a bay leaf and simmer away for about a half hour.
Now, let's get serious. Ladle into bowls, lay toasted bread slices on top then grate some Gruyere cheese and until the cheese gets all melty, gooey, and glorious.
Yield: 6 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 3 1/2 pounds of yellow onions (about 6 large; larger onions means less peeling), thinly sliced
kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups homemade beef or chicken stock or low-sodium store bought
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf tied together in a bundle
1 baguette, cut into ½[[[.5]]-inch rounds 1 ½ cups (about 6 ounces)
Shredded Gruyere cheese
In a large, wide soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions gently, stirring frequently, until they are very soft and have begun to turn a deep blonde, about 40 minutes (it is important they do not brown or cook too long).
Stir in flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Pour in wine and increase heat to medium-high, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any caramelized juices.
Cook until liquid is almost completely reduced. Add broth.
Tie herbs together with string or inside a piece of cheesecloth. Add herb bundle and bring to a simmer.
Season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, the onions should be soft but not falling apart.
The soup may be made ahead up until this point and held for several hours or even a few days before serving.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put baguette slices on an oven rack, and toast lightly, 7 to10 minutes. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
Set six ovenproof soup crocks on a heavy baking sheet, and ladle hot soup into crocks. Float the toasts on the soup and top each with a handful (about 1/4 cup) of Gruyere.
Bake until the cheese is melted, bubbly and just barely golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Serve immediately when the cheese is gooey and the crock is very hot.
(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
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