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the haas machine: French Onion Soup

Monday, January 14, 2013

French Onion Soup

I'm not a big soup person. Sure, it's nice on a exceptionally chilly Wisconsin evening, but unless there's tons of crusty bread to go with it, I usually end up hungry in a few short hours. I like a meal that can make you delightfully pleased, but at the same time not feel like you're about to explode, so that's why I'm drawn to the concept of soup. I've made my fair shares of "meh" soups lately, but this one is nowhere near that category.

Every time I make this soup, I am reminded of a quaint French-themed party my friends & I hosted when I lived in Duluth, MN (my hometown). I had this massive deck on the back of my house, with pretty lattice & all kinds of flowering plants. We decorated it with little white lights, & antique linens. We set out candles everywhere, sipped our fancy red wines & prettied ourselves up in classy black. We even made little invitations with a hand-drawn Eiffel Tower on them & the details were actually typed out on a type writer. But most importantly, we feasted upon a very fine feast (cheese! bread! wine!) Yeah, we used to throw some pretty stellar parties

So this soup is more than a tasty treat for me, it's almost like a healing dose of comfort when I'm missing the closeness of my friends. This soup takes awhile, so it just begs you to pause & consider life a little more than your average soup. Plus, cutting up so many onions encourages a little crying, so you can hide it pretty easily if you need to (actually, John cut up all the onions for me. What a man!)

This is quite a simple soup, but the flavor is incredible. I served it with a fresh green salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, sprouts, hard boiled egg, cucumbers, soy nuts, & homemade balsamic vinaigrette. What are your favorite soups?

French Onion Soup
6 large red or yellow onions, peeled & thinly sliced (I used yellow)
Olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
Salt & pepper
8 slices of toasted French bread
1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.

Add garlic & sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, & thyme. Cover partially & simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast & sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Recipe taken from SimplyRecipes.com

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