So before the real meat of this post starts (heh heh) I should warn you that I, once again, am not Allysia. In matter of fact I am still Mike, and I will be blogging once or twice a week during this crazy month. I could act all chivalrous and say that I am blogging to take some of the pressure off of your regular writer, but she could handle it. I’m doing it because food is delicious, and blogging about it is kind of fun.
Today (yesterday) I decided that I had more time than money, so I would try making something cheap and time consuming: french onion soup! Possibly one of the simplest ingredient lists ever, but time consuming enough so as to be prohibitive. French Onion Soup is one of those things that I have always wanted to try making. The thought of the super-caramelized onions and the rich broth were enough to push me into cooking mode.
French Onion Soup
-makes two meal-sized portions, or six appetizer-sized portions-
3 medium onions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup very dry white wine
1 ounce scotch
3 cups vegetable broth
salt/pepper to taste
To begin, cut your onions into fairly thin slices (about 1/8″), trying to keep them uniform. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add all the onions, stirring every few minutes. Add a few teaspoons of salt to help the onions release their water. After 15 minutes, you can stir less frequently. The onions will need to caramelize until they are a very deep brown color. This should take between 40 and 50 minutes. Don’t worry about little scorches or burns on the onions, it all just adds to the depth of flavor. Near the end of the time you will need to stir more frequently.
Once the onions are done caramelizing it is time to deglaze the pan! Traditionally this would be done with a cup of dry sherry, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I used a cup of very dry wine and a shot of smoky, peated scotch to add some complexity. Crank the heat up, add the booze, and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to mix up the onion remnants. Add the broth and the salt/pepper and simmer for another 10 minutes to combine everything and boil off a little extra liquid.
Traditionally there is only one way to serve french onion soup: top it with a slice of baguette, cover it with cheese, and stick it in the broiler. I decided to modify our soup a little bit by topping the baguette with hummus (from the store) and tomatoes (from my grandma’s garden). Who says you can’t mix Mediterranean toppings with classic French cooking? The bread and hummus added a little heft to the brothy soup. The final verdict? Deep and complex, slightly sweet due to the sugars in the onions, overall the best french onion soup I’ve ever had. And there were a few small bonuses to go along with the wonderful meal: the soup only requires 250 mL of wine, which leave 500 mL left for… other uses, and the fact that our house smelled like caramelized onions for the rest of the day. Foodwin.