This is actually something I made last winter, using onions I got at the Worthington Winter Market – but with the nights getting a bit nippy, and sweet onions starting to show up at the farmer’s markets, this recipe is more timely than ever.
I tend to like my French Onion soup homemade, as most commercial preparations skip the brandy, which I believe truly makes the soup stand out. That, and when you make it yourself you have more control over the process, allowing the onions to caramelize to that perfect point where the sweetness gets released.
Soupe a L’Oignon au Fromage (French Onion Soup)
recipe courtesy Gourmet Magazine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large onions (about 5 pounds), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup brandy
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 cups beef broth, homemade or canned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere
Heat the butter in a soup pot over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized, about 40 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and add the brandy. Return the pot to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost dry. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. While stirring, slowly add the broth. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, with the cover slightly ajar, about 20 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Arrange a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and preheat.
Arrange 6 ovenproof crocks or deep soup bowls on a baking sheet and ladle the hot soup into them. Arrange 2 slices of toasted bread on top of each soup and sprinkle with the cheese.
Broil the soups until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.
In a fashion true to my German roots, I ate my French onion soup paired with a liver cheese (kind of like liverwurst, but square with a ring of fat around it) and swiss sandwich on rye. Definite comfort food for me.
So tell me, what do you folks make when you want a meal that will warm you to the core?