French Onion Soup

This has got to be one of my favorite dishes of all times. I like to eat it, I like to make it, I even order it in restaurants (I mean, I’ve got to check out the competition…right?)

One of the most fantastic things about it, is that it is SO easy to make, SO cheap and can be made completely vegetarian. Plus, it’s something that’s fast become an almost Zara only dish.

This is what you’ll need;

1 bag of medium-sized yellow onions (about 7), sliced lengthwise, thin

1 knob (tbsp) of butter or vegan butter substitute

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp flour

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup red wine, preferably whatever you are drinking at the time

3 1/2 cups chicken stock (1 container)

2 cups beef or vegetable stock (you’re looking for that darker color and that robustness that you won’t get with just chicken stock)

salt and pepper to taste

to garnish

slices of toasted stale bread or croutons

melted mozzarella or provolone cheese, thinly sliced

Have your child run around the house while you chop about a million onions. Don’t wear mascara today…trick to help cut onions that an italian friend once told me, hold something in your mouth while cutting onions such as a spoon or a drink of water. This will distract your whatever it is that makes you cry in the first place glands, and you’ll be able to cut your requisite onions. I find it takes me several gulps of water, and I usually get through all but the last onion without tearing up. Like I said, no mascara.

Have your child add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a warmed pan. You add the onions (I don’t think now is the time to teach them the lesson that onions make your eyes burn…I feel we should hold on to that a little bit longer…) Add 1 tea of salt to help make the onions weep. Cook until onions are translucent. Add butter and stir. When butter is melted, add wine, stir through and cook for about 1 minute or until wine has reduced into the onions. They’ll be this funky purple color. Add 1 tbsp flour, and coat the onions. What this does is hold the buttery wine flavor into the onions without interferring with the flavors of the stock you’re about to add. When you take a bite of the soup and your spoon has a bit of stock and a bit of onion, what you’ll find is you have two flavors entering your mouth at the same time. It’s magic. Promise.

Add your stock. I don’t think there is a magic to this, add them however you want. I’m sure there’s a rule out there somewhere. Don’t worry about it. Add your stock. Add your minced garlic and stir. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Taste, add seasonings to your liking, cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Your soup should be nice and thick, with velvety ribbons of onions swimming through the liquid.

Preheat oven to 300 F. To plate. I use my little rectangle ceramic dishes. They are individual servings and I think plating in them looks really pretty and isn’t difficult. Add croutons to the bottom of each serving, ladle in soup almost to the top. Add cheese to cover the top. Put on a lipped cookie sheet and cook in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is nice and bubbly.

Serve with a nice salad (we had pear, carrot, spinach and havarti with dill…fabulous!)

french onion soup

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