Tuesday, April 15, 2014

French Onion Soup

Perfect Pairing:  Epicurean cutting board


Today you are getting a soup recipe.  Why?  Because it snowed in Chicago yesterday.  It was quite a bit of snow actually.  I am NOT happy about it.  I am so disgusted with winter.  That has to be the last snow.  Right?  RIGHT?!

I have always loved French onion soup.  Why not?  It is salty, cheesy, and topped with crusty bread.  It even eliminates the extra step of me dunking my bread in the soup, which I love to do.  For some reason I avoided making this at home because I assumed it would be very time consuming and perhaps difficult.  I guess I just always assume French recipes are time consuming and difficult. 

While we are on the topic of France.... I am going to France next month!  I am over the moon excited.  I am going for work but extending for fun.  The first half of the trip will be in Paris and then it is off to sunny Nice for a few days.  I can barely stand it! I studied for a semester in Nice, so I am pretty pumped to see it again as a grown-up and a foodie. 


Anyway, like I said above, I always thought French recipes were difficult.  Good news!  French onion soup is easy!  Really, really easy.  This version tastes just like the restaurant classic.  It does take some time to get the onions cooked down but overall it is very low maintenance.  It would be great as a first course or served alongside a hearty salad. **My original draft of this said a heart salad, not hearty.  Gross.   When I made the soup I served it with this Kale Salad with Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Sesame Dressing.  It was a great cold weather meal.


The most time consuming part of the prep is slicing the onions.  It is important to have a really sharp knife.  Invest in a great knife and you won’t be sorry.  I love my Shun knives. 

I have always used the flexible plastic cutting boards.  They are great in the beginning, but after a few runs through the dishwasher they start to fold up around the edges and cause extreme annoyance in the chef.  My mom had an Epicurean cutting board that she received after attending a Wolf oven demonstration.  I coveted it.  I assumed this was a specialty board that would be hard to find, but apparently they are all over the place.  It was at the top of my Christmas list this year.  I love this board.  It is dishwasher safe, lightweight, and comes in various sizes.  This might sound crazy but I truly enjoy cutting and chopping more on this board than any other.  Weird? 


French Onion Soup

Adapted by Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing from Tyler Florence


·        3 Tb butter
·        4 onions, thinly sliced
·        2 cloves garlic, chopped
·        1 bay leaf
·        4 sprigs of thyme
·        1 cup red wine
·        2 Tb flour
·        3, 26 oz. containers of beef stock, unsalted
·        2 tsp beef broth base (Better than Bouillon)
·        1 ½ cup grated gruyere cheese
·        1 baguette, thinly sliced


Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until the onions are deeply caramelized.  Add the bay leaf, thyme and red wine to the pan, bring to a boil and cook until wine evaporates.  After the wine evaporates reduce heat to low, sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to distribute until the flour has cooked a bit.  Add the beef stock and the beef base, increase heat and bring to a boil.  After bringing to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Ladle the soup into oven safe dishes and top with two slices of baguette and a sprinkle of gruyere.  Broil until the cheese melts and starts to brown. 


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