11 March 2008

French Onion Soup

I made French onion soup for Zach once before, a few years ago, using cheap, canned beef broth, and it hadn't turned out very well at all. I remember it being a sort of watery mess (that Zach very valiantly ate) so when I saw a recipe in Cuisine at Home, I thought it might be time to give it a try again. This time, I bought Kitchen Basics Brand stock (which I sort of remember as getting very good marks from America's Test Kitchen) which I hoped would give the soup more depth of flavor. The recipe also called for 3 different colors of onion- I'd like to think this would add more flavor too, but I couldn't really say. It also called for Gruyeres for the topping, but we weren't at the good cheese store and I didn't want to buy half a pound of overpriced Gruyeres of dubious quality so we decided on Edam instead.

The soup was really easy to make, although it took a bit of time. All of the onions and 3 cloves of garlic went into the dutch oven and sweated for 10 minutes before caramelizing for 20 or so more (I added some dried herbs here since I forgot to get the fresh ones that the recipe called for). Then I ended up adding quite a bit more broth than the recipe called for, to get the right onion/broth ratio. The soup cooked for another half an hour or so, then I topped each bowl (or ramekin as the case actually was) with a piece of toast and some Edam cheese and broiled them in the toaster.

I was actually really surprised at how well the soup turned out. The broth was slightly sweet from the onions but still had a deep beef flavor and the nutty, creamy taste of the cheese went perfectly with it. I may be a convert.

(One note-- French Onion Soup doesn't have to be full of fat and therefore supposedly bad for you. This recipe only has 1 T. of added oil and beef stock is generally fat free. As long as you don't go too crazy with the cheese on top, the soup is relatively low-cal and fat)

French Onion Soup
Serves 4-5 as a main course
Adapted from Cuisine at Home

1 large yellow, white and red onion, sliced into thin half moon shaped disks

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1T. olive oil
1 t. each, dried oregano and thyme
3 c. beef broth
2 c. chicken broth
10 or so slices of french bread, cut 1/4-1/2 in. thick and toasted
3-4 oz. Edam cheese, shredded

- Heat a dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat with the olive oil.

- Add the onions and garlic, cover and sweat for 10 minutes.

- Remove the cover and raise heat to medium high, add spices and cook onions for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until they have reduced in size and a caramelized (golden brown in color and sweet in flavor).

- Add stocks, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes (this is a good time to get the bread and cheese ready).

- Portion out the soup into oven safe bowls, top with bread and a bit of cheese and broil till the cheese is melty. Serve immediately.


kat said...

oh i'll have to make this for my husband its his favorite soup!

Jen said...

Hi Kat-

It's sort of funny that French onion soup seems to be a man thing. I think it's all right- but Zach really loves it.