French Onion Soup

I love, love french onion soup but it isn’t the family favorite so I don’t make very much. We did have an extra mouth last night but the boys eat at school so I send huge bowls since they can’t really get seconds. And since this one is a favorite I don’t follow a recipe anymore but I will come up with an outline ya’ll can follow!

I start with about 8 cups of beef stock, I had some in the freezer so I saved money in not having to buy any and but I do use 1 can of the consomme even with homemade stock just because they get some flavor in there that I just can’t duplicate. I like a vidalia onion for this soup because they have a delicate sweetness that compliments the beefy broth but feel free to use any yellow onion your market has. I also add a leek for some of the garlic flavors. The amount of onion you use will determine how much broth you need unless you like it super onioney then by all means use that whole pound of onions! And butter, so much butter, at least 1 stick. I have also found a way to get some wine into the mix too, it can be either red or white, whatever you have on hand. We will also use salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder and msg. Provolone cheese and crusty bread will round out the ingredients list.

Chop the onions (and leeks if you use them) into as thin of slices as you can get them, I use a mandolin to make super quick work of it. It is also helpful to cut the butter, smaller slices will melt faster and not slow down the cooking as much. I usually end up using the whole stick but if the idea of going all Paula Dean on this soup startles you, you could use grapeseed or olive oil. I wouldn’t use coconut oil because of the flavor of coconuts doesn’t really fit into the soup.

Now that we have our ingredients ready let’s cook! Start with a couple of tablespoons of butter in your stock pot over medium low heat, once the butter starts to bubble add the leeks if you are using them and a pinch of salt and get them softened for 4 or 5 minutes before you start adding the onions. We add the leeks first because they are a bit more fibrous than the onions and need a little more time. Once the leeks are almost translucent add in about 1/3 of the onions, a couple more pats of butter and another pinch of salt, I also add my garlic and onion powder to this step. Stir occasionally but for the most part you want to leave them alone so they can cook down. After the first round has cooked down by about 1/3 add in the next handful of onions, butter, salt and stir. Continue with this cycle until all of the onions are added and keep cooking them down until they are just starting to brown and leaving some schmaltz in the pan which can take 30 to 45 minutes. Once you have achieved schmaltz get the wine and add about 1/2 cup to the pot and stir all those yummy bits off the bottom and sides. Let that wine cook down for 3 or 4 minutes then add about half the broth and that can of consomme and let it come up to a gentle boil. Here is where you need to taste, adjust the salt and pepper and whatever else you like. I used ancho chili powder instead of black pepper because it has more of a background heat than the upfront bam of black pepper.

Once the first 4 or so cups of broth have come up to a simmer you can decide if the onion to soup ratio is acceptable, I added another 4 cups because I did use almost a whole pound of onions. Taste again after you add more broth just to make sure it is still perfect. If your soup is perfect dish it into oven safe bowls and put a slice of the provolone cheese on top and stick them under the broiler on low. You might want to put the bowls on a sheet tray in case the cheese bubbles over, don’t need to create a fire hazard! Once the cheese is brown and bubbly serve it up.

But what about the bread you say, doesn’t the bread go on top of the soup and under the cheese? You can make it that way, just toast it a little so it doesn’t get soggy and icky. I just serve it on the side with fancy butter.

Here is a recipe:

  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 1 can beef consomme
  • 1/2-1 pound of yellow onions
  • leeks- optional
  • 1 stick of butter
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
  • loaf of crusty bread
  • provolone cheese- as many slices as you have bowls of soup
  • at least an hour to slave over the stove

You could go vegetarian with this if you wanted, just use veg stock instead of beef and leave out the consomme.

Thanks ya’ll! Happy cooking!

 

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