Fall is in the air!
As fall is making itself known and the temperature is getting cooler, I got the urge to make some rustic French onion soup. Nothing makes a cold day feel fabulous like a hot bowl of soup! The bad part about making soup is that it usually takes a bit of time for the flavors to marry and the solid ingredients to cook. Heating a “can” of soup is definitely not in my skill set, and the time it takes to make homemade soup is definitely worth it.
Being the culinary diva that I am, it wasn’t long before I was nestled on the couch with a hot bowl of soup and a movie…and it was beyond satisfying. My only regret was that I had no guests to serve it to. In fact, it tasted so wonderful, I immediately made some notes so I could share it with you!
Rustic French Onion Soup
Today’s recipe is made with ingredients you should already have in your pantry. If you are planning to make it for guests, the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find. This soup, served with a salad, is a complete meal–but it can also be served in a smaller portion prior to a delicious dinner if you want to impress your guests. Honestly, you can’t mess this one up. Just follow these simple directions.
1 Bay leaf
4-5 cloves of garlic (minced or put through a garlic press)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
4-5 pounds of white or yellow onions
8 cups of beef stock (I use quart boxes of beef stock from Costco)
3 TBSP of white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
4 TBSP Butter (not margarine)
1 cup of dry vermouth (or any DRY white wine)
grated mozzarella, swiss, or gruyere cheese
Clean the onions and cut in half, and then slice into very thin slices. I prefer to dice the onions because I don’t like the long “strings” of onions in the soup. You can do it either way, but the photos show the onions diced.
Melt the butter in a large pot, and toss in the onions. This is my favorite part because the onions have to caramelize, and this takes awhile. Plan on caramelizing your onions for nearly an hour. Consider pouring a glass of that wine you will be using in the recipe, and enjoy the process.
Cook the onions over a medium heat and stir often enough to keep them from burning. Cook them until they are a nice even dark golden brown color, and be careful not to scorch them. Once they are a dark golden color, toss in the minced garlic and stir. The bottom of your pan should have brown bits stuck to it. Add the flour and stir again to evenly coat the onions and garlic. Cook for at least a minute, to actually cook the flour.
Now add the wine and stir. This is called “deglazing” and is a skill you will use over and over in your kitchen. Use a wooden spoon for this part, and gently scrub off all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. The flavor this process adds to the soup is amazing, so don’t skip it! Those little brown bits are loaded with yumminess!
Add the seasonings, making sure you leave the bay leaf whole, as you will remove it prior to serving the soup. Let the soup simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45-60 minutes.
Now you can eat it plain, with a crust of French bread, but that isn’t the proper way to eat French Onion Soup. And since I try and make things easy for all of you, and like it easy myself, we aren’t going to toast a baguette or anything. REMOVE THE BAY LEAVE AND TOSS IT, and then ladle a healthy portion of the soup (making sure to get plenty of onions) into an ovenproof bowl.
Leave about an inch of space between the top of the bowl and the soup. Cover completely with croutons, and then cover with grated mozzarella, swiss, or gruyere cheese. Place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
The Finished Product
This recipe makes a full 2 quarts of French Onion Soup, and it reheats beautifully. Just add your croutons and cheese, and it’s done. Because of this, it’s a perfect soup to make the day before your dinner party, so that your house doesn’t smell like onions when your friends come over. To be fair, my husband had to open the kitchen window because of the smell of onions while they cooked, was overpowering.
Amber comments: As this month is #InternationalMerlotMonth I am pairing this amazing soup with our bargain wine of the week Broadside Merlot from Paseo Robles, California. Merlot is a beautifully flexible wine that hits that sweet spot for not being too big, too fruity, or too tannic if it is made correctly. At just $14.00 from Bevmo this wine is easy on the budget and good enough to serve to guests. Read more about our review here.
Have a wonderful week! ~Ms. April