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French Onion Soup

September 18, 2009

I have no idea why I’ve been craving French onion soup lately.  Usually I think of it as a winter food and right now it’s so humid out, it ‘s like walking around draped in a wet blanket.  But I made up a batch anyway, taking advantage of my husband’s absence for the evening, since this is a particularly fragrant dish to prepare and he doesn’t care for onions.  The end results were fabulous.  Look at that color.  It is, of course, best served with crustini and grueyere or swiss, cheese, but I’m trying to be diet conscious, and the soup on its own isn’t bad at all.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of onions, sliced thin (your choice what kind…mine were mostly yellow with one red)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (I was using a petite syrah by Crane Lake)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. I started to do this in my dutch oven, but it just didn’t have enough bottom surface area for 3 pounds of sliced onions, so I wound up putting this in my big wok that I use for stir fries.  Yeah really, it was that much onion.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the onions, stirring to coat.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and stir again to distribute.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized.  This takes quite a while, so you can give it a stir, go do something like sort laundry and come back and give another stir.  This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. After about 15 minutes, sprinkle the salt over the onions.  This will help further pull the liquid out.
  6. As the onions start to brown up and stick to the pan (after 20-30 minutes) you may want to reduce the heat a bit and add a little bit more oil.
  7. That big pile of onions?  Yeah, that reduced to this after about an hour.

    I know, it’s a long time and labor intensive, but it’s SO WORTH IT.  See that gorgeous golden brown.  That’s what you’re going for.

  8. Now you can make the soup in the big skillet, but really I think a dutch oven is better, so transfer your onions to a dutch oven or a large stock pot and add the remaining ingredients.
  9. Simmer on low for 1 hour.

Printable version.

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