It’s a gray rainy day out here in Montreal and I feel like some comfort food. I know! You think I’m going to say French fries or pizza, but you’re wrong. Although the latter definitely fall in the comfort food category, I’m thinking of something else. As I’ve got time on my hands, a luxury these days, I’ve decided on preparing one of my favorites, a French onion soup. Onion soup is quite easy to make and, whenever necessary, I don’t hesitate on making a fast version of it. But nothing beats the real thing. A soup in which the onions are deeply golden brown and have cooked for so long their rich flavor takes all its meaning.
Like I said, onion soup is really easy to make. But if you’re going to tackle the following recipe, you’re going to need close to two hours to make it (although you could pull it off in an hour if you’re in a rush). Don’t worry though, most of the time you’ll be able to do other things at the same time. Onions don’t require too much attention! And the reward is definitely worth it. It’ll make your evening a great one, especially if you’re planning on watching the French version of the electoral debates tonight… not something I’m looking forward to!
Makes 4 servings
5 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt + more for seasoning
¼ tsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
6 cups beef broth
½ cup dry white wine or Vermouth
3 tbsp Cognac or Brandy (optional)
2 cups grated Suisse or Gruyère
1 tbsp butter
8 1-inch thick sour dough bread
Preheat your oven at 450˚F.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss them, and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low and let them steep for 15 minutes.
While you’re waiting, spread some butter on your bread slices and put them on a baking sheet in the oven for about 8 minutes or until they are crispy and golden. Set them aside while you continue to prepare your soup. Keep your oven heating.
Uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in ¼ tsp of salt and the sugar. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, for another 30 to 40 minutes until they turn a deep golden brown.
Once the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with the flour and cook, while stirring, for another 3 minutes. Add the wine and the stock a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in the Cognac. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes.
Arrange 4 ovenproof soup bowls on a baking sheet and divide the soup among them. Place the croutons on top of the soup (let them float!) and cover them with the grated cheese. You can add more cheese if you find you don’t have enough!
Bake the soups on the tray for about 15 minutes. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler if the cheese isn’t brown enough. Serve immediately on a plate as the bowls will be steaming hot.