Monday, March 12, 2012

French Onion Soup

Recently I've been craving Panera's French Onion soup. As that can get pricey...I decided to make my own! After posting my * Chicken Stock * recipe last week, it really gave me the drive to give it a shot. So today I'll share a basic recipe of French Onion Soup.

You'll need beef broth. (You could also use vegetable or chicken stock as I've seen others use.)
A medium/large white onion and I went ahead and tried out a red onion to give a variation to the flavor.
You cant beat 5 calories and 0 fat!
Burning a candle is supposed to help keep you from tearing up when chopping onions. It worked all right until the very end and then the sting still cut through.
Slice them into "half moons" and then again in half. I used the whole white onion and half the red.
Mix the onions with salt and pepper
Crush a couple cloves of garlic if you want. You dont have to chop the garlic, just lay your knife flat across the clove and pound it with your fist. Peel away the skin and toss them in with the onions.
Melt butter over medium, medium-high heat.
Add the onions.
After a couple minutes give them all a good stir and fold them all over so each side is coated and exposed to the heat.
You'll start to see them become clear and tender.
This is the beginning of caramelizing! This is what really brings out the flavor of the onions.
Cover your pan and let them cook.
Be sure to give the pan a stir so the onions dont stick or burn.
You'll want them to get to about a golden brown, but you can certainly let them cook longer and get a deeper caramel color. (It's kinda crazy how much they shrink!) This is about a 30-45 minute process, so be patient. I was still able to get plenty of organizing done and hang out with T, I just had to make sure I'd stop in and give it all a good mix.
Add the broth. (I originally planned to put it all in the crock pot...but it didnt work the way I planned in the time that I had planned.)
I added a dash or two of Thyme.
A dash of crushed Bay leaves. (I never remember to get fresh herbs!)
The flavor of the broth seemed a little thin so I added two chicken bullion cubes. You could use regular broth or, again, vegetable broth.

Bring the soup to a boil for a few minutes then you can turn it down to a low heat. The longer it cooks, the better. The total time I took was just under 4 hours! (But one hour was basically wasted in the crock pot.)

Got a couple loaves of bread last night for a buck a piece, yay!! Pop one in the oven at 350 degrees for at least 6 minutes. You can also pre-slice the loaf and toast it that way.
There IS cheese in there...but it melted and sank to the bottom right when I took the picture! I used shredded mozzarella. You can use Parmesan or Asiago as well. Traditionally a piece of bread tops the soup and the cheese is melted/broiled on top. Wellll...I'm not a huge fan of soggy bread, so I skip it now and just dip my bread.

See?! Totally easy! And I made enough that I'm going to separate it and put some in the freezer for later!

Plus! Yet another Gluten Free option. =) Obviously you swap out the bread, but otherwise, you simply check to make sure your broth(s) are GF and you're good to go.

Happy Eatin'!


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