French onion soup has always been one of my favorite restaurant choices. However, I’ve never made it at home before this week. My hand was forced because Mrs. Greenbean bought about seven thousand pounds of onions at Costco, and they were stinking up the whole house. I had to cook them or toss them.
I decided it was time to make soup.
I perused the interwebs for ideas, and went from there. The first thing I had to do was buy oven-to-table bowls. Wal-Mart let me down, and I shall not forget their treachery. I ended up going to the only other place in town that might have them, and that was Tuesday Morning. They didn’t have a matching set, but I did get four, which is perfect for the Greenbeans.
- olive oil
- half cup butter
- four large onions, sliced
- a fourth cup of flour
- forty ounces of beef broth
- a fourth cup of red wine
- dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
- thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- one baguette
- sliced provolone cheese
- sliced Swiss cheese
- grated Parmesan cheese
I made the soup in my favorite dutch oven, but any large stock pot would do.
I melted the butter, added the olive oil, then threw in the onions. I cooked them on medium heat on the stove top until they were were translucent and properly reduced. Then I added the flour. This carmelized them, causing some of that delicious brown to emerge. Different recipes argued for and against the flour, but it was the right choice for me.
When the flour had browned a bit and the pot was becoming dry, I added all of the beef stock. I stirred it well, then added the Worcestershire sauce. Immediately after that came the wine. I used a hearty burgundy. Then I tossed in a tablespoon or so of thyme, a little salt and pepper, stirred it well, brought the heat up until it simmered, then reduced the heat to low. I covered the pot and let it simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
[It seemed to me this part of the process can be done well in advance of mealtime, even days. Simply heat the soup up when you are ready to serve it.]
At the end of the thirty minutes, I set my oven to broil. I ladled the soup into my brand new (and thoroughly washed) oven to table bowls. I placed three ample slices of baguette on top of the soup, then covered it with a slice of swiss, a slice of provolone, and a tablespoon or so of the grated Parmesan. This is, of course, a matter of taste. The next time I make this I will likely use stronger cheeses like Gruyere or maybe even a smoked Gouda.
I placed the bowls on a cookie sheet, then put it in the broiling oven. I left them there about four minutes. That is all it took for the cheese to brown, the soup to bubble a bit, and the aroma of deliciousness to fill my home.
I served it immediately. Enjoy.