French Onion Soup
French onion soup can be a little fussy, time-consuming, and tear-inducing, but if you've got a few hours on a rainy Saturday, there are few better ways to spend it than in the pursuit of this classic, comforting gratineé.
For the soup:
- 3 lbs Spanish onions yields 4 servings
- 6 cups high quality beef stock or amped up store bought stock, see below
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup dry sherry
- Soy sauce optional
- Fish sauce optional
- Day old French baguette for topping
- Gruyere cheese shredded (for topping)
- Start by preparing your onions. Peel them and then cut in half from pole to pole - through the root and stem. Remove the tough root part by cutting it away with your knife. Then thinly slice them pole to pole - like cutting with the grain of the onion. This gives the slices more structural integrity so that they stand up to the slow cooking method.
- Repeat this process with the rest of the onions.
- Next prepare your stock. Ideally you would use homemade beef stock, but you can also “soup” up a store bought version. To do that, add your beef broth to a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Add aromatics like parsley, sliced carrots, thyme sprigs, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, and parmesan rind. Let it simmer for 1 hour.
- Slowly caramelize the onions over medium heat. Keep them moving constantly, and scrape down the sides of the pot.
- The onions are done when they are soft, jammy, and caramelized with a lot of fond on the bottom of the pot.
- Add 2 Tbsp flour to the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pot with 1 cup of dry sherry and cook, scraping up fond from the bottom of the pot.
- Once the alcohol is cooked off, add the beef broth. Make sure to strain it first if you added aromatics.
- Let the whole thing simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors get to know each other.
- Toast bread in a 400°F oven for 5 minutes.
- Slice a clove of garlic in half and rub down each piece of bread with the garlic.
- Check the soup for salt and pepper and season as necessary.
- Ladle soup into broiler-safe cups. Top with sliced baguette and shredded cheese.
- Put the bowls onto a baking sheet and put into an oven preheated to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes until golden brown.
- Garnish with chives and serve and enjoy!
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