Sunday, October 3, 2010

French Onion Soup

It's officially fall, my friends. Although I am already mourning the loss of fresh tomatoes, I am very much anticipating the warm and comforting recipes that the colder months seem to inspire. To kick this comfort food season off with a bang I thought I would post this wonderful recipe for french onion soup (courtesy of America's Test Kitchen). I must admit that I don't actually have this recipe on hand. In fact, I caught most of it on television while I was sitting in a waiting room somewhere. Despite the possible non-adherence to the exact specifications, the soup I did end up with turned out fantastic.


Serves 6

3 pounds red onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
Parsley, 1 sprig
Thyme, 1 sprig
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
French bread, sliced
6 deli slices of Swiss cheese,
1 cup Asiago cheese, (grated)
Salt and pepper, to taste

First off, I strongly advise you use red onions. Yellow or white onions are not a substitute in this recipe. To begin, you will want to caramelize your onions. For this recipe I would recommend using an oven-safe, non-reactive pan (I used a Creuset dutch oven). Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into the pan on medium heat. Once melted, turn the heat up to medium-high and add the onions and a hearty pinch of salt.

It will take about 45 minutes for the onions to caramelize, so be sure you stir frequently. Once the onions are finished, add your chicken and beef stock, the red wine, and the parsley and thyme (tied). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan a few times. Once the simmering time is up, add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir and let stand for five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. I sometimes add a bit more brown sugar and a pinch more balsamic then the recipe suggests. Use your best judgment when balancing the flavors.

Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls. Top first with bread (2 slices from a french baguette is usually sufficient), a slice of Swiss cheese, and some grated Asiago. Put under a broiler until the cheese is gooey and browned (about five minutes). Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.