Sunday, October 17, 2010

French Onion Soup

Cooking is becoming harder and harder for me as I get closer to the end of my pregnancy. I think all my energy is going into fattening up the baby. When I am cooking now it is only things that require me to stand for less then 20 minutes and are pure comfort food.

Vegetables are a shockingly hard sell these days. My friend brought over a beautiful salad for dinner last week and I picked out the pears and candied walnuts to eat. All I can say is I hope by the time this boy joins us at the dinner table my love of vegetables will have returned. (And!! I hope he likes veggies too! What would I do with a kid who won't eat his vegetables!)

French Onion soup is a surprisingly fast meal, if (BIG IF) you caramelize the onions the day before. The night before I planned to make the soup I filled a large sauce pan with a pat of butter, 10 thinly sliced onions, and a sprinkle of salt. We left them on low over the stove from about 5 pm (while I cooked dinner) to 9pm (when we we closing down the kitchen for the night.) This may not sound low maintance, but whenever one of us would think about it we would walk by and give the onions a stir. In 4 hours over low, low heat the mountain on onions cooked down to about 2 cups of deliciously caramelized goodness. If you wanted to you could freeze this bag of onions to pull out as needed for sauces, soups, sandwiches, etc. Real caramelized onions are one of my favorite flavors.

Another way I simplify French Onion soup is I toast the bread and Swiss cheese seperately under the broiler. This means the soup can be served in any bowl, with no worries about pulling bubbling bowls of soup out of the oven.

French Onion Soup
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup flour
2 boxes beef broth, low sodium if can find it
2 cups of caramelized onions (starting with about 8-10 thinly sliced onions, cooked down)
1 sprig of thyme
a bay leaf
1/4 cup cream or dry sherry, or dark beer, or dry white wine, depending on your preference and what you have around. I really like it with the sherry
salt and pepper
1/2 a stale bagette sliced about 1 inch thick
1/2 cup of shredded Swiss Cheese

1. In a large sauce pan, melt butter over med-high heat. When melted stir in flour until a paste forms. Cook one minute, continuously stirring.
2. Pour in broth, starting with about a cup, stirring or whisking until the flour mixture is combined smoothly and you see no (or just a few lumps.)
3. Add onions, herbs and sherry, simmer for 20 minutes.
4. When soup has 5 minutes left to cook lay stale bread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each slice with cheese. Broil or heat in the oven until melted.
5. Taste soup, add salt or pepper as needed. Remove herbs.
6. Spoon into bowls and float a couple cheese toasts on top. Serve immediately

If there are left overs I suggest storing the bread separately from the soup until ready to serve.
Dinner in under 30 minutes with about 10 minutes standing time :) This makes a big pot of soup, so you don't even have to cook dinner the next night!

Sorry about the lack of photos, our camera got lost in the shuffle, and is now recharging.

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