Time to dig up the old faves…
And French Onion Soup is definitely one of those! Warm, cheesy goodness for a cold winter night. Or perfect for Friday’s during Lent. So I thought I remembered my favorite recipe being here. Too Busy to Cook, Circa 1980. But after looking at it I realized it was too “time-saving”. It called for frozen diced onions and I would not have used that, then nor now! But, the recipe served as a reminder and a base for a soup that turned out pretty dang good. So here’s the recipe.
RECIPE STARTS HERE!
3 lbs sweet vidalia onions, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 5 cups)
1/4 pound unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
3-4 springs of fresh thyme
sprinkle of sugar
1/4 cup cognac, or I often use Calvados but this day I was out of both, so I used a medium-dry sherry, doesn’t give it a super richness but was very nice.
4 cups beef stock
4 cups chicken stock (I use the boxed stuff Kitchen Basics, yellow packaging)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2-4 cups of shredded cheeses (see cheese part)
In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, saute the onions with the butter, olive oil, bay leaf and thyme. I do this all at once because there’s no way I’m doing batches. So I sprinkle with a bit of sugar to get the caramelization started, keep the heat low and stir often until the onions are nice and a rich golden brown. Takes about 30-45 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the brandy or sherry and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the stocks plus salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme, taste for salt and pepper.
I like sourdough bread the best. I love the sourdough at Costco. I cut each piece in half, rub both sides with tad bit of olive oil and toast in the oven, low heat, about 275, for 10-15 min. I want the toasts as crispy as possible so they can hold all that cheese up. The bread will eventually turn into a soggy mess, but those great bites in the beginning that are still crispy on the edges last longer with toasted croutons.
My favorite cheeses for this soup are Gruyere and Emmenthaler. They are great melters and the emmenthaler is a basic Swiss cheese while the Gruyere has lots of flavor. But this day I had neither. I did have Comte! and honestly, that’s my favorite too! I also had this fabulous swiss style cheese from Roelli Cheese called Little Mountain. It was a perfect combo. So…experiment with your cheese choices! Especially if you have a great cheese shop in town that carries all sorts of fabulous cheese. HINT- that would be ZZest Market