Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Nothing like French Onion Soup!.........

It's quite chilly out today, expecting a big winter storm come hit pretty much everybody, Winter Storm Helena I believe and so might get some snow.... but it doesn't matter if it's cold or not since French Onion Soup is one of our favorites any time of year!

This lovely soup, comforting and elegant at the same time makes it a must for anyone to have in their repertoire, not just for family but for entertaining or a special evening too... Plus I've made it simpler and faster so it becomes a practical soup as well.

For this dish only yellow onions will do, ok? You need the sweetness these lovelies give plus the ideal is to have Cognac on hand and a good White Wine but for the everyday convenience and cost savings so you don't have to do without you can use an economical Brandy or Sherry, I usually have a decent Brandy around (we use it in so many things like "Pollas" an egg & Brandy shake or some Eggnog, how about a Brandy Cake, Coq au Vin and so many others that it makes sense to keep it on hand) and some economical yet great tasting wine (white & red) for all type of sauces and dishes, I've found Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Fresh N Easy carry some decent stuff now and then.... for us it's just part of our general pantry so we're ready when inspiration hits.

For French Onion Soup you will need:

3 lbs yellow onions
1 stick of butter
2 Bay leaves
1/2 cup Sherry
1/2 cup Brandy (or use 1 cup of either one)
1 1/2 cup White Wine
8 cups Beef stock (preferably home made or half Veal stock and half Beef if you have it, if not use store bought low salt one)
1 fresh Thyme sprig
1 Tbl Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (I use black pepper too since seeing the pepper doesn't offend me)
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, grate fresh
Crusty French Bread, preferably old and toasted if you like

Pick a heavy stock pot and use medium high heat, add the butter, onions and Bay leaf and saute until the onions are a deep brown color, Stir every now and then and keep an eye on them so they don't burn. This takes about 20-25 minutes...

Add the Sherry and/or Brandy and scrape the bottom of the pan, deglaze the pan so you incorporate all the tasty bits on the bottom into your soup, allow to simmer for about 5 more minutes. Now add the wine and simmer, uncovered for both, for about 15-20 minutes. Add the sprig of Thyme.

At this time you can now add the Beef and/or Veal stock plus the salt and pepper, return to a boil and allow once more to simmer uncovered for an additional 20-25 minutes more. You can remove the Bay leaf, check the salt and pepper and add more if you need it, get your bowls and bread ready  -  serve  the soup into your bowl, top with bread, generously grate the cheese over the bread (or soup if you're not using bread) and place under the broiler for a minute or two (keep an eye on it)  now you're ready to enjoy!

While I sit waiting for my soup to lose the volcanic heat and be able to eat it I thought of this other very similar idea you can use if you love the taste of French Onion Soup but don't want to have soup (you know who you are...) This is also for the vegetarians or vegans out there, just as amazing and a quick and healthy idea for anytime too.... French Onion Toast or Open Faced Sandwiches are definitely worth a try, right?  The toasted crusty bread, the dark golden onions, some fresh Thyme leaves and you can add the cheese (vegan cheese?) or not....

Anyway, there you go, hope you try these ideas and let me know. Here's wishing everyone's new year is off to a great start which will carry us all into a wonderful 2017, cheers!