Thursday, January 13, 2011

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Comfort food.  This is what it's all about.  This is a wonderful soup to serve on chilly evenings and it's cost effective too.  The crunchy french bread, creamy melted swiss cheese on top of a steaming bowl of soup really can't be beat.  Formal enough for Christmas eve dinner which was served at my house as a kid, it is flexible to whip up quickly and serve for lunch.  I have also served this as a first course for dinner with friends.  When this simple soup comes out of the oven, it looks amazing and smells delicious.  Everyone seems to get very excited about this soup and they are delighted when they are served their very own.  It's a simple way to dress up any meal.

When your soup is prepared and you are starting to assemble the bread and cheese take a moment to decide how you want your soup to be presented.  For instance, the traditional way is to leave the bread slices whole and lay the swiss cheese on top.  Alternately, you can slice up the bread into large croutons and pile on top of the soup and then add the cheese.  Your choice.  Sometimes I also use parmesan cheese along with the swiss.  Let's get started.

I T. butter
2 swirls of olive oil
2 or 3 large yellow onions sliced thin
salt & pepper
5 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. dry white wine
1 T. worchestershire sauce
1 t. dried thyme
4 thick slices of french bread
2 T. butter for spreading on bread
4 slices of swiss cheese

In a stock pot or dutch oven over medium high, add butter and olive oil and heat through.  Add sliced onions, salt and pepper.  Give them a good stir to coat and let them cook for ten minutes stirring occassionally.  The goal is to soften, not carmelize.  Add stock, wine, worchestershire sauce and thyme and stir together.  Cover the soup and bring it to a boil.  Immediately turn the temperature down to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. 

Turn your oven on broil.  In oven safe soup bowls, ladle out enough soup to measure 1/2 inch from the top of the bowl.  Butter one hearty slice of thick french bread and place it in the center of the bowl covering soup.  Lay one slice of swiss cheese on top of the bread.  Put the bowls on a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet into the oven.  Watch carefully to make sure it browns, but does not burn.  The cheese should be bubbly and golden brown.  Carefully remove hot soup from oven and serve.  Serves four.  Enjoy!

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