caramelized onions, check. gruyére cheese, check. happy heartiness, check & check. i recently came home to a bag of onions. e, in his way of being supportive, sometimes gives me little challenges. he’s been known to buy random fruit, a rare mushroom or a special herb, just to see if i know what it is or how i can use it in a dish. it’s his way of saying that i need to be more present in the kitchen. and he’s right.
but what to do with a bag of onions? he hadn’t gotten that far. the thing is i couldn’t waste them in a vane effort to hone my knife skills. and then, ding(!), i thougth about french onion soup. that delcicously wonderful creation that’s been around since roman times and had a resurgence in the u.s. during the french cooking rage of the 60′s. it’s something i order out but never have thought about cooking at home.
well that has all changed. it’s a good combination of simplicity and elegance. and on a cold winter night, with a small salad and a glass of rosé it feels like paris all over again.
i looked through a handful of cookbooks before i settled on a combo of two of the french culinary greats: a little jaques pepin here with a dash of julia child there, plus a few jk twists…
french onion soup:
4 – yellow onions, thinly sliced
7 cups – beef stock
1 cup – port
8 oz. – gruyére cheeses, coarsely shredded
1 – baguette, cut into ½-inch pieces
butter, salt, pepper and herbs de provence
heat the oven to 400. in a large deep pan or dutch oven add the butter and the onions, cooking over medium high heat for 10 minutes. stir occasionaly – you don’t want burned onions, just nice and caramelized. once all the onions are lightly browned add a tspn. each of kosher salt, cracked black pepper and herbs de provence. then add the beef stock and port and bring to a boil, simmering for about 15 minutes. at the same time toast the baguettes in the oven and grate the cheese, (i make extra bread slices and extra cheese and save them as we’ll have this soup a few more times throughout the week).
|caramelized onions with butter|
|the onions, beef stock & port boiling|
|all good & simmering away|
okay, all that’s left is to assemble the bowls and cook the soup. place the toasted bread in the bottom of the bowl. ladle the soup onto the bread and fill almost to the top (e likes extra bread so i put another piece here – but i personally like more onions so i don’t do that to mine) and then layer the cheese over the soup, making sure to press some down on the rim of the bowl. place the bowls on a cooking sheet and bake for 30 minutes in the oven until the cheese is perfectly golden brown.
my mouth is watering as i post these picks. it’s really an awesome dish to have in this wintry weather. snuggle up and enjoy!!