French Onion Soup

Posted by on 21/05/2012

Not many pictures for you guys this week, It’s been a fairly stressful one so give me a break 😉

This week we made French Onion Soup – I’ll gladly take credit for it but have to be honest, Ryan was the one that cooked this one. Hey, I gotta let other people into the kitchen sometime, right?

French Onion soup is something most people have tried. Sweet, Dark, filling, with that delicious bread and cheese topping… not something that many can resist. The recipe isn’t hard either! I’m surprised more people don’t make this at home. The key ingredients here are your Beef stock, Your onions, and the red wine. Use quality ingredients that you LOVE, not throwaway wines and soft onion’s you would never eat otherwise. This seems simple, but with a soup that contains relatively few ingredients like this one, it’s very important. If you want to get a REALLY GOOD beef stock, roast your bones and vegetables first. When they have browned (not burned) before making the soup it adds another level of flavour, makes it darker and stronger.

French Onion Soup:

ingredients:
Onions – lots. Seriously. I’ve gone through a whole bag making this before
.
Beef stock – dark and strong. Making a standard beef stock and reducing it by half to increase flavour really helps here.. kinda like a “demiglace”

Red Wine – I prefer something dry for this.

Bay leaf
Thyme
peppercorn
salt
Garlic
Cornstarch

steps:
Stock + most of bottle of wine put in a pot on a back burner to heat up to a simmer. Add Bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns to this.

Start off with your onions. I cut each onion in half and slice them lengthwise. Melt butter in your stock pot, add the onions and garlic, saute until you start to see them get a bit brown. Then, I add in a splash of redwine to get all the delicious bits off the bottom of the pan and keep going. The longer you cook the onions and the darker they get, the more developed your final flavour will be.

When the onions are caramelized, add in the cornstarch to coat them. It should bind with the fat from the butter to make a roux like consistency (kinda like wet cement). Cook that for a bit until it starts to roast and get darker in colour, but do NOT burn. Add in your stock/wine mixture a few ladles at a time while stirring. Doing it slowly allows the corn starch to thicken the broth so that you get a better mouth feel with the end result. Once you have added in all of the stock and wine, bring everything up to just below a simmer once more. The soup can be ready in about 20-30 minutes at this point, but I tend to let it go an hour so that it can reduce and build up flavours. Gives you a better end product, but it’s not necessary if everyone is hungry or if this is an appetizer.



THE TOAST:

I pick a heavy gluten free bread for this, one of the densest ones I can find – but it HAS to be one that’ll toast up for you. Get them under the broiler on a pan, let it brown up on the top first. When this has completed I pull them out, cover in shredded Gruyere swiss, and put them under the broiler again for the cheese to melt. I don’t own no fancy French Onion soup bowls, and I don’t see me buying a one use item like that anytime soon – it’s just not my style!

I see you there, acting all fancy with your soup bowl. It ain’t gonna make your soup taste better bein all froo-froo!

To Serve:

Ladle up some soup, with plenty of onions. Put this in your bowl. Float a delicious cheese toast on top. Garnish with chopped parsley, serve.

If you want to get fancy, you can put the soup with cheese toast on top in your oo la la french onion soup bowls and then pop those under the broiler until the cheese has melted. This is the classic way to serve french onion soup- but as I said, I don’t have the bowls to do it.

Here is a picture of the soup (I ate my toast first because I’m a dick)

Hope you enjoy!

Sean



3 Responses to French Onion Soup

  1. Daniel Hunter

    Nice Recipe, I love french onion soup. I have found that by simmering the onions before you add the wine and stock you get more flavor. Try using 1 part red onion (add a level of sweet) to 2 part white/yellow onions and simmering this in the butter/oil until they start to tender. In this way the onions will release some of their flavor and liquid adding to their flavor base. Then I add the red wine and reduce by half before adding the stock, again just piling up the layers of flavor.

    Is there a brand or type of gluten free bread that you recomend more than others for this dish?

  2. Daniel Hunter

    Oh and it’s important to note that you make your own beef stock, many of the ready made versions are not gluten free! I have yet to find a reliable brand of pre-made.

  3. Sean Emerson

    I find the onions have released enough flavour by the time I finish caramelizing them that they do not need an extended simmer. I do use butter frequently when I do this however, and using the same pot as I do with the soup helps me keep in a lot of the flavours! I agree with using a mixture of onion types, however as one of my roommates does not enjoy red onions, they are usually not on hand for me to use.

    I use Udi’s Gluten free breads when I want a softer, more sandwich type bread. They also make good grilled cheese. For toasts and things like this I use a dense bread, like some of the kinnikinnick rice loafs. However, I have recently been trying to bake my own bread and will update as I become more successful.

    Making your own beef stock really does make things easier! I have some McKormick beef bullion cubes that do NOT contain gluten, but it was hard finding a brand and I much prefer the flavour of a homemade stock anyway. Why buy it when you can make a huge batch and freeze?

    Thanks for your comments!

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