Friday, November 21, 2014

French Onion Soup

I LOVE french onion soup. It's one of my always order items when it's on a menu. Even in the dead heat of summer- I'll order french onion soup if a restaurant will make it for me. It makes me happy. But for some reason I always avoided making it because I thought it would be an undertaking. But in reality- it's really simple (minus bawling while cutting onions) and delicious. And it can be dressed up for a party or enjoyed in pajamas while watching Scandal. And it can be made a few days ahead and tastes even better! This is a great fall/winter comfort meal! 

French Onion Soup

3/4 cup apple cider 
2 large sprigs thyme (approx 3/4 tbs) 
2 tbs butter 

6 1/2 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/3 cup dry white wine 
1/2 cup apples, peeled and grated (I used a small Granny Smith) 

4 cups beef stock
2 1/2 cups chicken stock 
2 bay leaves 
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper 

Optional topping:
Rustic bread, I used Portuguese 
Swiss cheese of your choice- Gruyere, Emmental, jarlsberg- whatever. 

Large dutch oven with lid
Wooden spoon 
Cutting board
Chopping knife 
Measuring cups/spoons 
Box grater 

Melt butter over medium to low heat in the dutch oven pot. Once melted add your onions and 3/4 tsp of salt- stir and then allow to sit for 10 minutes to begin to sweat. Add your minced garlic and stir in. Continue to allow the onions to sweat and caramelized, only stirring every five minutes or so. The onions should reduce in size by half and they should begin to become a dark golden brown. Be careful to not burn the edges as this can result in a burned taste in the soup. Turn heat lower if this begins to happen. Just allow the onions to slowly caramelized- the whole process can take between 30-45 minutes. 

Once onions have caramelized, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Add the white wine to the pot and allow to simmer for a few minutes and reduce. Then add the apple juice, both chicken and beef stock, thyme, bay leaves and remaining 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer and then cover with the lid and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour in the oven. 

Remove soup from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before tasting and seasoning to your preference. 

To serve: I lightly toast my bread and then you have two choices. Sometimes I prefer to eat the soup with couton style bread to avoid the stringy cheese dripping bites. And sometimes I like the stringy cheese drippy bites and use a full slice of bread. Once bread is lightly toasted you can cut it into cubes for crouton style and place on a lined baking sheet. Grate your Swiss cheese over the bread cubes and broil for a few minutes on high- checking frequently to avoid burning. 

OR you can fill a oven proof soup bowl with soup and place a lightly toasted piece of rustic bread on top with either a slice of Swiss cheese or grate cheese all over it- typically a lot of cheese! Place under a high broiler and broil for a couple minutes while cheese melts, gets bubbly and golden brown. This results in the stringy drippy cheese. Both versions are delicious- one just makes for more civilized eating. Enjoy it! Xo

Crouton and more civilized eating version

Stringy drippy more cheesy version

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