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
2 T butter
2 sweet onions
2 yellow onions
2 red onions
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.