I won't try to kid you, this soup is labor intensive but simple to figure out. It just needs a lot of babysitting. It's worth doing it just once to taste this awesome soup.
French Onion Soup
Note: the cooking and deglazing takes a couple of hours so give yourself lots of time to prepare this yummy dish. You will need a 6 quart (or bigger), heavy, enamel-covered iron Dutch Oven with lid.
Makes 6-8 individual bowls of soup
4 lbs yellow onions (yes!)
Cut yellow onions into slices (not sweet onions, not red onions but yellow) pole to pole ¼ inch thick.
Spray Dutch oven with cooking spray or use olive oil
Put 3 tbsp butter in the pot
Put sliced onions into the pot
Add 1 tsp salt to coax liquid out of onions while they cook
Put lid on.
Put in 400ºF oven for 1 hour
Stir, scraping sides
Put back into oven for 1½ hours stirring after 1 hour. Crack the lid just a little to let off some steam while the onions cook
The brown stuff on the bottom of the pot is “fond”—dark, crusty and full of flavor. The onions have caramelized.
Put Dutch oven on stove over med-high heat
Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently with heat-proof rubber scraper, to darken even further --need attention and patience here; you might have to lower or raise temperature to not burn but to achieve a good fond. Not black but very dark brown. The darker the fond the more flavorful the soup.
Add ¼ cup water to pot to deglaze. Stir to pull the fond into the onions. Cook another 6-8 minutes to form another brown crust in the pot and then deglaze again and then cook a third time.
Using ½ cup dry sherry deglaze the pot with the onions one more time scraping up all the brown bits with the rubber scraper. Cook for about 5 minutes until all the alcohol evaporates
(That’s 2 deglazings with water and 1 with sherry)
Add 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, 2 cups beef broth and 2 cups water and ½ tsp salt and a tied bunch of thyme and bay.
Let simmer for about 30 minutes
Remove herb bundle, add salt and pepper to taste
You will need toasted, baguette slices (you can do this earlier on a sheet in a 400ºF oven for 10 minutes)
Float 1 or 2 slices of toasted bread in each individual bowl (make sure you have oven-safe bowls)
Top with 1½ cups shredded gruyère evenly divided between bowls.
Place under broiler (very close) watch carefully to just melt the cheese
Annie’s comment: Best onion soup ever!!
Edited by: ANIDUCK at: 2/25/2010 (18:17)
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