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If you’ve been following this blog over the past year, you’ll know that I’ve been putting together quite a few food and wine pairings, with individual wines paired with recipes. Well, I plan to continue with those, but I’m also looking to add these standalone recipes to the mix.
My reasons are simple: The other pairings take so long to put together, mainly in photography, editing and writing time, that I found myself posting fewer and fewer of them. The other thing is that they’re paired with specific wines, usually wines that I’m featuring that month. This kind-of limits me to the types of recipes I create and post. These short posts are going to allow me a little more freedom. That’s a good thing!
Ok, with that out of the way…this recipe for French Onion Soup is certainly one of the more labor intensive recipes I’ve posted, but luckily most of the time is spent waiting for the onions to brown-off.
French onion soup is one of those basic things you first get taught in culinary school. The method, although extensive, is fairly simple; but you’ll be surprised how many restaurants do such a terrible job of making it….at least in my experience.
With the colder months upon us, I promise you’ll be glad you spent the time making this recipe. And don’t worry if you make too much. Just wait for it to cool and then freeze it into smaller portions. That’s what I do anyway.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: About 2 hours (don’t worry, it’s not all “active” cooking)
- 4 large yellow onions, cut into 1/8-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon table salt, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup Cream Sherry
- 2 Beef stock cubes (optional)
- 8 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1 French baguette
- 10 oz Gruyère cheese, sliced thick
1. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2. Add the onions,salt, and sugar. Stir, to make sure everything is evenly coated.
3. Cover and cook-down for 10 minutes.
4. Remove lid, and cook at medium heat with the cover off until the onions are slightly browned. This will take about 90+ minutes.
5. Open a bottle of wine, and pour yourself a glass while you’re waiting…
6. Stir onions every 5-10 minutes and slowly add water (a couple of tablespoons at a time). Be careful not to burn!
7. Continue to cook until the onions are an even dark brown color, an additional 30 minutes longer or so. Continue to check and stir when needed.
8. Add the flour and stir for two minutes.
9. Add Sherry and cook for two minutes.
10. Add 8 cups water and thyme sprigs to the onions and bring up to a boil.
11. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add beef stock cubes – which is kind-of cheating if you’re looking to make a “traditional” French onion soup…but I don’t care. I’m English.
12. Add white wine and simmer 10 minutes.
13. Add salt and pepper to taste.
14. Heat oven to 325 degrees, with a rack in the middle position.
15. Cut the baguette into 3/4 inch slices and arrange on a baking sheet.
16. Bake until the bread is dry, about 10 minutes. Remove bread slices and set aside.
17. Heat broiler/grill and place bowls (for as many people as you are serving) on a baking sheet. Ladle soup into each bowl. Top with 1-2 baguette slices and evenly distribute cheese slices over the bread. Broil until browned and bubbly, about ten minutes. Leave to cool (obviously) for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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