September 12, 2011

Hubby's French Onion Soup

This weekend was Hubby-to-be's birthday. When I asked him what he wanted me to make for his birthday dinner, I got little more than a shrug in response. So I thought about foods he likes and liver and onions was the first thing that popped in my mind. Seriously. That really is his favorite. I have never made it because I've not seen a liver for sale that didn't look diseased. It doesn't help that I grew up hearing horror stories about liver and onions from my mother's youth.

Onions, though, I can work with. I remembered that one of Hubby-to-be's favorite foods also happens to be French Onion Soup. I scoured the internet for recipes and I found one from Simple Recipes that seemed perfect. I even had most of the ingredients on hand. My favorite part was that it used olive oil and not butter to cook down the onions, which makes it a bit healthier.

Just the right amount of browned cheesiness.
 I also saw a lot of recipes that add a little flour to thicken it, but this one didn't and it is totally unnecessary. To give it a little more oomph, I added some Worcestershire sauce, because, well, I saw it when grabbing my bay leaf and I knew it would be a tasty addition. Lastly, I scaled it down a little since it's just the two of us.

Hubby's French Onion Soup
Serves 4
Adapted from Simple Recipes

What You'll Need:

3 medium yellow onions
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups beef stock (stock gives a better flavor than broth)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a chardonnay. You can also omit this if you prefer)
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of thyme (I had fresh thyme from my garden, but dry is fine, too)
French bread, sliced and toasted
1 cup grated Swiss Gruyere cheese

The Process:

Slice the top off your onion, cut in half from top to root, and pull off the peel. Slice the halves crosswise, then sauté the onions with some olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the sugar in after 10-15 minutes and continue to sauté until browned and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. I like to put a lid on it and stir them up only ever 8-10 minutes or so (Don't skip out early on this, caramelizing the onions really gives the soup its sweetness).

While your onions cook, add your garlic, stock, wine, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and thyme to a pot. Put it on low heat and let simmer until your onions are done. Once the onions are ready, add them to the pot and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Divide the soup into 4 oven-safe bowls and put the toasted bread slices on top. Sprinkle with cheese and broil for 5-10 minutes in the oven until the cheese browns slightly. Serve at once.

Note: Once it's simmered and just about ready, you can add salt or pepper if you wish, but I didn't. The stock I used made it salty enough for me and I didn't think pepper would do the dish any favors. I would also suggest using a low-sodium stock, since you can always add a little more salt to taste later.

Hubby-to-be really liked it so birthday dinner was a big success. This is definitely something I will make again, especially as the weather turns cooler. It takes a little time to caramelize the onions, but that can easily be done earlier in the day. Actually, you could make the whole thing in the morning and just heat it back up on the stove before you're ready to serve.

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