french onion soup
Despite the unseasonably warm weather, I’ve been cooking cold weather food the last few days. On Friday night we had a friend over and I made the mushroom bourguignon recipe recently posted on Smitten Kitchen. Last night I wanted to make something to use up the pearl onions we’d purchased for the bourguinon, so I decided on french onion soup. I’d never made it from scratch before, but found a simple recipe on Simply Recipes (hummm) and went for it.
French Onion Soup for Two
adapted from Simply Recipes, based on what I had in my house.
1 1/2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped.
2 cups peeled pearl onions
1 teaspoon brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 brown crimini mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of the random white wine I had in my fridge (Sav Blanc)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
4 slices of toasted French bread
1 cup of grated Irish cheese
Elise says the key to good soup is the broth and slowly carmelizing the onions. Since I started with perfectly mediocre Trader Joe’s low-sodium vegetable broth, I figured I better do the onions right.
We started by throwing all the onions (chopped and pearl) in a heavy bottomed saucepan with several tablespoons of olive oil. I cooked them on a medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring them every five minutes or so. Ten minutes in I added the brown sugar.
After thirty minutes I added the chopped garlic, mushrooms, the thyme and bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. I let that cook for about five more minutes and then added the stock and wine.
While the soup was simmering (for around 20 minutes), I baked the slices of french bread at 300, until mostly crisp, and P grated the cheese (Have I mentioned I have a very strong aversion to grating cheese? I hate it).
After twenty minutes of cooking our stock had cooked down so the soup was thick and stewy. We wanted it that way, but you could add more broth if you don’t. We put the french bread slices on top, covered them in cheese, and stuck them in the oven under the broiler until the cheese was bubbling.
It tasted a lot better than that picture looks. In fact, it was probably some of my favorite French onion soup ever. The pearl onions may be a pain to peel, but I love how they cook up (they maintain their onion flavor while still being a bit sweet) and I like the texture the little balls of onion add to the soup. I will definitely be making it again.