Over the weekend, it was requested that I make the French Onion Soup. I made this for Angel awhile back, and he died over it, so I had to make it again! This recipe was adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray. Here is the obligatory “cast of characters” shot:
First, you start with making sure you have a very sharp knife.
Contrary to all “theories” out there that claim to remedy the dreaded onion crying syndrome, there is only one that actually helps the situation. The reason why we cry when onions are cut, is that our eyes are reacting to a gas that gets released by the onion. What we can do to help reduce the gas that gets released, is to make sure the knife you use is very sharp. When the onion is cut, it causes those gasses to be released. The more blunt the object is, the more cells you damage. More cells damaged equals more gas, and more gas equals more tears! We have the renowned celebrity food chef Alton Brown to thank for that tidbit.
Now, heat up the largest skillet you have, under medium-low heat and add olive oil.
While the pan warms, start chopping those onions. About 3 large onions or 4 medium will do; add them to the pan as you chop.
Then add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper, two cloves of diced garlic, one tablespoon of dried Italian herbs, and a bay leaf.
You could most certainly use fresh herbs! If I had them, I would have certainly used them here. Perhaps a teaspoon of Thyme, Parsley, and Oregano would have done nicely.
This is the part that always drives me nuts. You MUST be patient with the onions. Move them around every so often, and above all, do not scorch them. We are sweating them, drawing out their moisture, and allowing the sugars in the onions to develop. This will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Don’t turn that heat up. Be patient. I know you can do it!
In the mean time, heat up a large pot, and add in 4 cups of beef/chicken/vegetable stock, 2 cups of water.
Then add one package of sliced mushrooms.
Bring to a low simmer until your onions are ready.
After an hour my onions are finally ready!! (Actually they probably could have gone for a bit longer to get a little more light brown. See?! Impatient!) Notice what they have been reduced to? Looks like two thirds less than what we started with. It’s still plenty of onions for our soup though, have no fear! Now, add in the sherry, and get any nice brown bits off from the bottom of the pan.
Add the caramelized onions to the broth mixture, and heat through.
Now for the fun part: the crouton!!! Take whatever bread you have laying around, and toast.
Then add your favorite cheese to the toast, and broil it until it’s a sheet of bubbly deliciousness! Just a little side note here – while you may have your preferences of bread and cheese combinations, I have found that the best bread to use is a french baguette. For the cheese, I would stick with a smoked Gruyère if you’re able to. It will still be delicious, whatever bread and cheese combination you use!
Plate your soup:
Top with cheesy crouton!
Et voila! Beautiful French Onion Soup!
3 Large Sweet Onions, sliced
2 T. Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 T. Italian Herbs, dried
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 C. Sherry
4 C. Beef/Chicken/Vegetable Stock
2 C. Water
1 6oz. package Mushrooms, sliced
French Baguette cut into slices, toasted
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat, and add olive oil. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, Italian herbs, bay leaf to the pan, and cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or until translucent and golden brown. Take care to not scorch the onions. While the onions are cooking, bring stock, water and mushrooms to a simmer. When the onions are translucent and golden brown, add the sherry to get any brown onion bits off the bottom of the pan, and add to the stock mixture. Melt the cheese on top of the toasted baguette slices, and place on top of individual soup portions.
Becca Preston says
Glorious Onion indeed! What a wonderful How-To! I wish I had been invited to sample…perhaps it’ll inspire a soup night with our cooking circle? Job well done, friend.
Thank you!! Next time you will TOTALLY be invited over to sample! I’ll give you a hint.. the next post involves….. carrots! 🙂