I have always wanted to make French Onion Soup and even bought some cute French Onion crocks about three years ago. Well, I finally dug them out of my basement, cleaned out the cobwebs (literally), and set to work.
Start with 6 yellow onions and 6 cloves of garlic and slice them thinly.
Perhaps some of you are lucky enough not to be effected by the onion curse but, for me, it’s not pretty. I’ve been told to put the onions in the freezer for about half an hour before slicing them to combat the tearing effect. Do I ever think to do that? Of course not. Instead, I choose to weep my way through slicing. Literally, I have tears pouring down my cheeks. It’s so bad that my 7- and 4-year old sons look at me as though I have finally lost it. So, after this most recent episode, I ask my husband if any of my makeup ran. His response: “Just a tiny bit under one eye.” Nothing to worry about. While we’re sitting down to dinner later, my 7-year old asks me, “Mum, what happened to your eye?” I wander into the bathroom to take a gander and what do I find? My mascara has fully migrated about an inch and a half under my left eye. Thanks honey – appreciate the thorough scrutiny. Thank God the UPS hottie hadn’t come to my door. (Honey, sorry to throw you under the bus on the inaugural post. I love you…you’re a big, strong man…and other sucking-up things.)
Moving on. Set a large pot over medium heat and melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter. Do you think it’s time for me to buy new cookware? I know all of you are dying to eat at my house so you can increase the metal content in your blood, thanks to my peeling nonstick surfaces.
Throw in the onions and garlic and add 1 tsp of dried thyme. I think a few sprigs of fresh thyme would be nicer, but I forgot to pick some up at the store.
Cook the mixture for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and brown. The caramelization gives them a rich, sweet flavour that is to die for.
Add 1/2 cup red wine and 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Make sure to use a wine that you’d actually drink. Your meals will only be as good as the ingredients you use. If you drink wine from a box, I don’t want to know about it!
Reduce the wine and vinegar to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned onion bits from the bottom of your pot. They’ll add flavour (or, in my case, flavour and heavy metals. Love that!).
Add 1 tsp. Dijon mustard and 6 cups canned beef broth. I know, homemade beef broth is better, but that just wasn’t going to happen. Simmer 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place 12 (or 4 if you’re using a larger French bread) baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and top each with 3 slices of baguette toasts and 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese (Gruyere or Emmenthal will give you the best flavour). Broil until the cheese is melted and brown, about 3 minutes. The browned cheese bits are the best so don’t take the bowls out of the oven too soon.
French Onion Soup
6 onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tsp dried thyme or 3 fresh sprigs of thyme
6 cups canned beef broth
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
12 small, or 4 large, baguette slices
1 cup grated Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, garlic, and thyme and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion are very soft and brown. Add the wine and balsamic vinegar and stir until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the beef broth and Dijon mustard and simmer about 20 minutes.
Place the baguette slices on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls and top each with 3 baguette slices and 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and slightly brown. Serve.