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French Onion Soup

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I’ve been MIA in the blog world for a little bit and i’m aware. I’ve come down with a little touch of pneumonia recently and with all the added holiday work and stress, it took me about a week and a half to actually realize I was sick. I’ve been blaming my chest pains on employees who don’t listen so lets just keep this little secret to ourselves. They seem to work harder when they think i’m actually capable of a heart attack at 24.  It’s not as bad as it sounds, though. The doc gave me a good ol’ course of antibiotics and i’ll be back to 100% in no time. Plus, on the bright side, it’s given me another excuse to discuss one of my favorite topics; Soup! French Onion to be exact.

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French onion soup is easy to make. Seriously, you should try it. It’s good. You know how you know it’s good? I went out of my way to buy new soup bowls specifically for this recipe. I don’t buy new cookware for just any recipe. Ask around.  I’m not saying i’ll bake you your birthday cake in a sheet because the cake pans are missing, but sometimes soup in a mug is suffice. Plus, I got them in three different colors. Things are getting fancy in my kitchen. I’ve also  finally mastered my brat of a stove. It’s old. I’m not sure how old, but it’s up there. The first time I attempted caramelized onions, I put them on the stove, left to check my email, only to come back to a burnt mess, realizing later that my back burner doesn’t work properly and has no heat regulation. It serves one purpose: cooking on high. It’s fantastic for boiling water.  The front right burner is a little finicky as well. Only the left half of  it works. It makes for a great simmer. The fact that I can finally navigate this stove without burning or under-cooking food has felt like an accomplishment and one of those useless skills that only I seem to appreciate but there’s nothing really to be done about it.  We rent and I’m not about to buy a new stove myself.

In the mean time, if anyone DOES want  to buy me a new stove for Christmas, I’ll happily repay you in bowls of soup.

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French Onion Soup

Caramelizing onions is easy. You can throw some onions on the stove and go check you’re email, just don’t get impatient. There’s a special place in heaven for slowly cooked caramelized onions.  French onion is even better if it sits overnight so don’t feel that you have to serve it immediately. You can get a lot of longevity out of one pot. Just make sure that you aren’t melting cheese over cold soup. Heat your soup first before constructing your french onion. That way you or your guests won’t be digging into some deliciously melty cheese only to find cold soup on the bottom. This is a really simple and delicious soup to make. Besides the cheeses, I find that I usually have all of these ingredients in my kitchen making it inexpensive dish to make as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1.5 pounds of sliced onions
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry sherry
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced (1/2 inch)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 pound of provolone cheese, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 pound of Swiss cheese, thickly sliced

Directions:

For baguette slices: 

Heat oven to 375 F

Heat a small pot over medium heat and add the 1/2 cup of oil and smashed garlic cloves. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and add three tablespoons of butter. Brush baguette slices on both sides with oil mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 5-7 minutes or until golden. Set aside.

For soup: 

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper, toss to coat, and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 25 minutes.  If the onions are cooking too fast you can turn the heat down or add a touch more oil. When onions are sufficiently caramelized add the sherry, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until wine has evaporated and the onions are dry. Remove the the thyme springs. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least 1/2 an hour. Season to taste.

For Serving:

In a wide soup bowl (or a mug if you’re in a pinch), place a couple of the sliced baguettes, poor the soup over them, top with a slice of provolone, a slice of swiss, and sprinkle with parm cheese. The parm will give the cheeses a nice crust. Place under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.