I adore French onion soup--really adore it. Maybe it's because Andrew hates onions so I can't get them around here and therefore I long for this soup even more. If they have it on the menu at a restaurant you can bet I'm ordering it.
The last time Andrew was out of town on business I decided that I was going to fix French onion soup just for me. I'd never made it before but figured how hard could it be?
Actually not hard at all, it takes a little patience because all those onions have to slowly simmer on low heat before they properly carmelize but if you can give it the twenty minutes it takes you've got yourself some sweet soup. My husband was out of town--I had plenty of time on my hands.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 cans (14.5 ounces each) beef broth
1 1/4 cups water
2 bay leaves
15 whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 ounces Gruyere, grated
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
6 slices crusty French bread, sliced
Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large heave skillet until bubbly then add onions and sprinkle with sugar, stirring to prevent it burning. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring onions regularly, until they are tender and deep golden brown, about 20 or 30 minutes.
Carefully stir in 1 can of the beef broth, deglazing the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a larger stockpot and add the other cans of broth and spices. Bring to a boil then simmer 30 minutes. Add vinegar, stir to combine, remove bay leaves and spoon the soup into six oven proof bowls.
Top each bowl with a slice of bread and top each slice with grated Parmesan and Gruyere. Broil in oven until cheese is golden and bubbly, only about a minute or two, then serve immediately and savor those yummy onions.
Can you believe it? After that blizzard we had two weeks ago it's been 50 degrees and beautiful until yesterday when Blizzard Number Two came through town and dumped all over my slightly greening grass. I'm so depressed I can hardly stand it. Take a good look at the view from my kitchen--that's a tree and not a bush and the two steps going up to the playhouse are under snow. I swear it will never melt. Ever.
And finally, for those of you in the Seattle area I've been told there's a new fine arts organization called The Ranier Family Opera that will be providing free concerts in an effort to reach first-time opera goers. It might be a nice chance to introduce your children (or yourselves) to opera without the stiff price tag an opera usually carries. Follow the link for more information.
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