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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

French Onion Soup - My Way

I remember the first pecan pie I made.  I started by pulling out about a dozen cookbooks and opening them to the pecan pie recipe.  Dark corn syrup, light corn syrup, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, three eggs, two eggs... As many variations as there were cookbooks.  So, I sketched out what I thought I'd like.  I'm a dark brown sugar kind of a gal.  We don't even buy the light brown stuff.  Insipid in my opinion.  Half and half on the dark and light corn syrup.  And so on.  Once I had a recipe created, I made the pie.  It was exactly what I was looking for. 

Now, Connie's asked for homemade french onion soup.  My favorite of all time is at a little place called Bijou.  Lebanon, IN is about 30 minutes north of Indianapolis up I65.  Bijou is a little gem of a restaurant on the town square - which is actually the Boone County seat.  Candace Winter and her husband Kerry Even run the place.  She's the chef and he's the everything else.  The food is incredible as is the service.  It's a treat to go there.  And, I can't remember when I've not started with some of Candace's amazing french onion soup.

So, here I am competing against one of the finest chefs around.  That's why I've not made my own.  Hers is SO much better than any I've ever had.  But, my wonderful hubby rarely makes a request for a specific food so here I am.  I've read enough french onion soup recipes to fill a cookbook.  Some recommend beef broth, some consomme, some chicken broth plus one of the others.  Then, there's the white wine versus red wine conundrum.  And, what kind of onions?  Mercy me, so many choices.  Consequently, I've done a typical Kate move.  I'm making six onion french onion soup!

What did we think?  I'll make this again in a heartbeat.  Actually, there's enough of the onion mixture left to make four more bowls so I'll be making this again right away!  The biggest difference we noticed was the lack of saltiness.  The flavors of the onions really shone.  Using a smaller amount of cheese than the normal slab allowed one to get a bite of soup, bread and cheese instead of doing battle with a glob of melted cheese.

French Onion Soup
serves 8
2 T butter
2 sweet onions
2 yellow onions
2 red onions
2 leeks
1 bunch green onions
1/3 c Penzey's freeze dried shallots
32 oz homemade chicken stock (or chicken broth)
8 oz consomme
12 oz beef broth
6 oz white wine
2 t dried thyme
slices of baguette about 38" thick (it may take two per bowl)
shredded romano cheese
shredded gruyere cheese

Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Slice the onions.  I cut them into quarters then sliced them very thinly.  Dice the green onions.  Saute them in the butter on very low heat until they are very soft but not caramelized.

See how the volume of onions in the pan shrank as they cooked down?

Add the chicken stock, consomme, beef broth, white wine and thyme to a large pot.  Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Add the onion mixture and heat through

Warm oven safe bowls under hot running water.  Dry the bowls and fill 3/4 of the way with soup.

Mix the grated romano and grated gruyere.

Top each bowl with a slice of bread or two

then a generous handful of cheese. 

Put the bowls on a large rimmed baking tray and place under the broiler.  Broil until the cheese melts. 


Roxan said...

I love french onion soup! you know, growing up I didn't like onions but then one day I had french onion soup and have been a huge onion lover ever since. Yours looks amazing, and two kinds of cheese? yes please!

Monet said...

Hi Dear! I ADORE french onion soup, and like you, I've always been a bit intimidated to try making it on my own. I visit a wonderful French bakery that get's it right, time and time again! However, I'm now eager to try this recipe. It looks just delicious. I hope you have a wonderful end to your week. Thanks for brightening my day!

Elisabeth said...

Hi Kate-I just happen glance through Chef Dennis' blog and noticed your comment on it re: the comment and responses on other people's blog. I used to respond back to others' comment on my blog, only to find out they never came back to read it, since every one out there is busy commenting on other blogs.
Once in a while it's nice to comment at the end of all the postings to mention a thanks for the comments, but I found it easier, and more appropriate to go to the bloggers' comment section and mention, and thank them for commenting on yours.

Sometimes it becomes a surprise when you go back to their blog to comment again, that you will find your the reply to you from previously...and for me, it's almost strange...because it's after the "effect"...and don't know what to say, at that point, so on to the next!
Excuse my rambling...I almost forgot to mention the I love your French Onion soup, recipe, and photo, and it's such a comforting soup, especially in this chilly S. Florida weather. I'm also following your blog...hope I'm not stalking you now, actually you can follow me back too, if you like!

The Mom Chef said...

I got so carried away reading Elisabeth's comment that almost forgot to hit comment myself. I try to leave all my responses to comments in one comment block so that I don't up my comment count. Does that make sense? No idea what the original conversation is about; just butting in.

Anyhow, the soup is beautiful. I'm surprised to see red onion in there, but I'll bet it works well. My Mom makes an awesome onion soup and I don't think she bothers with any wine half the time.

French onion soup is one of my comfort foods and now you've made it necessary for me to make it (thanks!).

Elle (@Bromography) said...

Your soup looks delicious. The red onion is a nice twist.

Anonymous said...

I like how you have the broth, consumme and stock, what a flavor explosion!!!

doggybloggy said...

a definite favorite.....

Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having said...

I've been meaning to make french onion soup for weeks. This looks wonderful!

Lizzy said...

Ooh, this looks wonderful...I love the look of your cheesy bread!

Judy said...

This sounds really good. My usual complaint is that onion soup is too salty so I love it when it's not. I have a good recipe for onion and portobello mushrooms, but I'll have to try this with the different varieties of onions.

Elizabeth said...

Oh this looks fantastic! I have been craving some of my mothers french onion soup for weeks, but unfortunately that recipe is with her 2000 miles away. I will be trying this very soon!

Oh and I am adding myself as a follower and look forward to your posts. If you get a chance, check out my blog .


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