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Friday, February 20, 2009

french onion soup

vidalia onion soup

Everyone should have a good french onion soup in their cooking arsenal right? It's easy to make ahead, and if you have people over for dinner, you can serve them in crocks and broil the cheese topping in just a couple minutes. But that's where the practicality can end if you want - it's one of the best vehicles for maximum melted cheese consumption. And can anyone guess where I scored my recipe? Soup? Hello? Of course, like every good soup around AHB, it's New England Soup Factory. (I have absolutely no association with the restaurant or book, in case you're starting to get suspicious.)

Grocery list: hunks of french bread for the topping (the original gives a nice twist on "garlicky croutons, but I skipped that in lieu of my own fresh wheat bread), 6T butter, 8 large vidalia onions (peeled and sliced), 3 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced), 2 cups cream sherry, 3 T tomato paste, 4 quarts beef stock, 2 bay leaves, 1 T cornstarch dissolved in 3 T water, 1 T balsamic vinegar, 1.5-2 cups grated gruyere cheese.


Start by slicing all those onions.

caramelizing onions for soup

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until they've caramelized - about 20 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 20 more minutes. Add 1 cup of the sherry to de-glaze pan.

beef broth in french onion soup base

Next, stir in the rest of the sherry, the tomato paste, beef stock and bay leaves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

beef broth in french onion soup base

Add the cornstarch-water mixture, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, stir in the vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Fish the bay leaves out and throw them away before serving.

setting up french onion soup in crocks

When you're read to serve the soup, preheat the broiler, then ladle soup into individual crocks or bowls (make sure they are safe for the oven/broiler).

top onion soup with bread

Place slices of bread on top. Sprinkle (scoop, bulldoze, etc) cheese over bread, and broil until bubbly and brown.

french onion soup 2

This is as good as any french onion soup I've ever had, I promise. And if you've made a big batch of beef stock lately, I can't imagine a better way to use it.

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