Friday, January 9, 2009

49. French Onion Soup

Date Cooked: January 5, 2009
Page: 44
Rating: A

I have stated before that I am not the biggest fan of soups. I don’t hate soup but it is just not something I ever really seem to crave. French onion soup is probably the only soup to come close to that though. My wife on the other hand loves French onion soup and will eat it at restaurant often. So when trying to figure out what I wanted to cook I mentioned this soup in passing and my wife emphatically agreed. So I swung by the grocery store and picked up a few items and set to work.

Not a very difficult recipe to say the least, painful, yes, but not difficult. I gathered my ingredients and began the longest and most tedious process, cutting five onions. Okay, I may have exaggerated before about the effects shallots had on me, but this time was very different. I set about cutting the red onions and after the first half onion my eyes started to water. I forgot about this lovely effect because normally I am quickly dicing an onion and am finished before the effects really get started. This time though I was carefully slicing the onions very thin and was releasing their terrible toxic chemicals into the air in vast quantities. After finishing the first onions I was practically blinded by tears. Not just tears of pain but also tears of realization, I had four more to go. The whole process was compounded by the fact that these onions needed to be thin which meant even more slicing through these little torture vegetables. Somewhere midway through the fourth onion my sight began to return and the pain subsided. I can only assume that my tears were flowing like a burst dam and the chemicals no longer had a chance to settle on my eyeballs. Goggles will be a new kitchen addition.

With the agony of onion prep complete I began the dish in earnest. Butter was melted in my dutch oven to which I added the onions. I was supposed to stir the onions frequently but it was impossible at first due to the sheer volume of onions. I did try though and ended up with little onion pieces flying all over the stovetop. I covered the dutch oven and waited. After several minutes the onions had begun to break down and I was able to stir. When I initially read the recipe I thought that the soup had to simmer for 30-35 minutes, turns out that is how long you cook the onions for. Once they were severely reduced in volume and had lost their structural integrity I added the red wine and almost 8 cups of broth (chicken and beef). In went some fresh herbs (parsley, thyme and a bay leaf) and the whole batch was left to simmer for 20 minutes.

When the soup was ready it was served into individual ramekins and topped with baguette slices and Swiss and Asiago cheese. It spent 5 minutes under the broiler before coming out ready to serve. The book called for 10 minutes under the broiler but if I had left it that long it would have been a crispy black layer of cheese.
This soup was delicious… except I once again got so caught up I forgot an ingredient. Before serving it into the individual ramekins it was supposed to have balsamic vinegar added. I added it to the remaining soup for the next servings.

Rating: A. This soup was delicious if a bit under seasoned. I am beginning to expect that from this book. I only had two ramekins so I had to wash them before serving up a second helping. It was worth it though. I will definitely make this soup again!


  1. You've given me a gentle reminder that I have to make French Onion soup...nice one!

  2. I just made an onion heavy dish too (it used SIX onions) and I don't like was torture :)

    I love soup! And potatoes!


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