French Onion Soup

Per my dad’s request, I am posting this recipe.  It is a little rough as I haven’t measured out anything in years.  But here is a basic recipe.

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3 pounds of sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or microplaned)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
2 c beef stock or broth
2 c chicken stock or broth
1 tsp dried thyme
finely chopped parsley
1 tsp black pepper
3 oz red wine
1 oz sherry

Sourdough bread
Sliced swiss cheese
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Fresh parsley, thyme or chives for garnish

What you have to remember about french onion soup is that it isn’t the recipe that makes a difference it is the technique.  Here is my technique.  Next time I make it I will take pictures throughout the process so you get a better idea of how I do it.

Set the heat to medium on a heavy bottom stock pot.

Cut the onions in half, and then slice them thinly length wise

place all of the onions and the garlic into the stock pot without oil or butter.
-(take note of where the onions go up to, you’ll need to know this when you put the stock in)

add the salt and cook on medium heat covered until the onions begin to wilt down slightly

remove the lid cook onions on low to medium heat until a dark caramel color, stirring occasionally.
-The darker the color the more rich the flavor.  Also the slower you cook them the more intense the sweetness.
-If you wish to hurry the process slightly or if you got regular onions instead of sweet add the sugar when you remove the lid.
-This will take anywhere from a 3-8 hours, depending on your heat level, type of pot used, and patience level.

Once the onions are to the point you want them (super dark caramel brown) add in the sherry and red wine and then the stocks, herbs and pepper.
-The thing to keep in mind with the stock is to add as much is necessary to bring the level up to where the onions started out, and then you are going to cook the stock down to where its half onions and half stock.  This should be about 2 c of each stock but could be more or less.

Once the stock has cooked down to equal parts stock and onions  (about half way) taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve as if at a restaurant, don’t forget the crouton and cheese.  I recommend swiss and mozzarella slices, one of each.  Classically it would be just swiss, but trust me, the mozzarella makes all the difference in the world!  And thick sliced sourdough bread is my favorite.  To do this the easy way, place your bread on a cookie sheet and place in oven to crisp it up a little then add a slice of each cheese on top and melt in oven.  Top each bowl with a cheesy crouton and herb garnish

If made correctly the sweetness of the caramelized onion makes for a complex flavored, rich, full bodied soup.  This soup can also be made in bulk and frozen to be eaten all winter long!


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