FFwD:Cheese Topped Onion Soup
I realized when this recipe was placed on the schedule that not only had I never tried to make French Onion Soup I had in probably never tasted more than a spoonful. My mother hated onions and I don’t believe I ever tasted one until I left home for college. And while I now cook with onions I guess I never thought of making onion soup. My soon to be 21 year-old son (how the years have flown by) adores French Onion Soup and frequently ordered it in restaurants even as a youngster much to the amusement and amazement of the wait staff.
What a great, easy, comfort food recipe for a blustery, cold winter’s night. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view we have been blessed with a week of record breaking high temperatures. So even though hot, steamy soup did not seem a appealing this week I forged ahead when I read in Dorie’s notes that the soup can be kept in the freezer up to 3 months.
Dorie’s recipe calls for 4 or 5 Spanish onions about 4 pounds. Those must be some big French onions because for me four pounds was more like 9 onions. I went by the weight since I always think what people describe as big or small is so subjective. Wish I could say I listened to a book on tape while I whiled away the hour slicing onions but instead I watched the noon news and then an episode of Baking with Julia on the DVDs my husband got for me.
All those onions nearly filled my Dutch oven. Then over a low flame the onions cooked, and cooked, and cooked and, then cooked some more. After 2 hours I sort of lost track.While they cooked down and down I thought they would never begin to brown and certainly never turn “mahogany”. Maybe Dorie and I see mahogany differently. Finally I felt like they were as
dark as they were going to get before they began to crisp and blacken. Dorie explains that the onions turn bitter when they burn but I must admit that my family likes them that way when I cook them down in butter to serve with steaks. At that point I put the onions in the refrigerator to make the soup the next day.
The next day I added the flour, wine, and chicken broth per Dorie’s instructions. I had always assumed that this soup was made with beef broth. After the required cooking time I tasted the broth and onions. I was surprised at how pronounced the wine taste was; it wasn’t at all what I had expected French Onion Soup to taste like. Since I knew we weren’t having this for dinner I only wanted to dish up enough for a taste and a picture. Next week I plan to use some Potato-Rosemary artisan bread that my family loves but for this tasting I used some of the my homemade White Loaves that we are continuing to enjoy. I had a nice piece of Gruyere that I grated over the top. I really must learn to control my broiler as I think I let it get just a little too brown.
My cup of French Onion Soup made a wonderful late afternoon lunch. I still thought the wine taste was a little strong and I might cut back a little next time. It was extremely filling with the bread and cheese and I can’t imagine eating anything else with it served as a first course. If this survives freezing as well as I think it will I will add this to my make ahead repertoire. Did you realize this is one of the few recipes that Dorie hasn’t advised us that it is only good freshly made? I enjoyed my taste. Since I have no memory to check it against I’ll have to wait until next week to find out whether it is a great French Onion Soup. I do know I will have one happy birthday boy next week. So Moose if you are reading this study hard and this is what is waiting for you when you come home.
This post is part of French Fridays with Dorie a dedicated group who cook and blog their way through the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Be sure to check out all the wonderful posts here to see how all the other Doristas fared this week.
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