Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Try French Onion Soup for your soul A belly-warming meal idea that will soothe any stomach on a cold January day - recipe: french onion soup

A few years ago, when my parents decided to downsize from their large family home to a townhouse condo, it left me with mixed feelings.

The downside included saying goodbye to our long-term neighbours and to the home where we had created so many wonderful memories.

In addition, I was faced with 25 plus years of mementos and keepsakes that I now had to filter through and store . . . without the benefit of a huge attic! The upside of the move was that Mom was compelled to pass along all sorts of items that she no longer had room for, like a few pieces of good-quality furniture, some décor items and lots of kitchen goodies (too bad her jewelry doesn’t take up closet space — just kidding Mom).

One of my favourite “scores” was the set of French onion soup bowls that my grandmother had bought for my mom many years ago.

French onion soup is just one of those things that tastes better in its own special crock — sort of like how Coquilles St. Jacques tastes better in a scallop shell (Score – I got those too!) What can I say? Some women love clothes, some women love shoes, and some women love soup bowls, scallop shells and tablecloths just a little bit more.

This is my favourite French onion soup recipe.

The winter following my parents big move, David and I invited them over for a belly-warming meal of French onion soup, crusty bread and green salad.

It’s January, so I know that a lot of us are trying to eat a little lighter — this isn’t exactly the lowest calorie soup option out there but it’s still soup, right?

French onion soup
(Serves 6) Ingredients

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 jumbo sweet onions (about two pounds), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup white wine, divided
5 cups beef broth (use the best quality you can — make your own, or buy from a specialty
store or butcher for best results)
1 cup water or chicken stock

For soup crocks
6 slices of day-old baguette
6 ounces of Gruyère cheese, grated (or more, if desired)


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until frothy.

Add onions and stir to coat in butter.

Add thyme, salt and sugar and stir every few minutes for 20 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of white wine and stir.

Continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes or until onions are very soft and golden brown in colour.

Add flour and cook, continuously stirring for about one minute. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of wine and stir for another minute.

Pour in broth, water/chicken stock and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

Put soup crocks in a shallow baking pan.

Divide the soup equally among the crocks and top each with a slice of baguette and an ounce of gruyere.

Broil four to five inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly (about one and a half minutes).

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