French food part 1: French onion soup

I must have been riding the high from my success with the Chinese food last week when I decided to try French cooking this week. That, or I was delusional. I thought "Hey, I like French food! I'll make that next! How hard can it be?"

And then I started looking at recipes, and all I could think was:

I love Arrested Development!

But it was too late at that point, and I just decided to go for it. I knew I wanted to make French onion soup, and I found a recipe that seemed fairly easy. But then for the entree...oh my goodness. It was impossible to find a recipe that that didn't involve years of experience, hours and hours, and super expensive ingredients.

Finally I found one that seemed reasonable...if you consider flambéing with brandy reasonable. Check back in a few days to make sure I didn't scorch off my eyebrows or light my house on fire.

But for today's success story:

French onion soup

French onion soup, french soup, onions, red wine, beef broth, cheese, french cheese, gruyere, french bread, baguette, croutons

I am so proud of this! It was a soup, which obviously I've been making a lot of recently, but it was completely different from the usual carrots/celery/onions + chicken stock formula I've been using. It was a little more challenging, a lot more expensive (gruyere!) but so rewarding at the end.

You will need:

French onion soup, french soup, onions, red wine, beef broth, cheese, french cheese, gruyere, french bread, baguette, croutons

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (I used salted, it turned out fine)
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere (which is like a swiss)

In a large pot (this is the pot you will add everything to), melt the butter over medium heat.

French onion soup, french soup, onions, red wine, beef broth, cheese, french cheese, gruyere, french bread, baguette, croutons

Then add your onions, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the onions are soft and caramelized.

Add the wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until most of the wine has evaporated. It will look pretty gross at this point, at least for me, as I'm not used to vibrant purple colors when I'm cooking.

After it's evaporated, fish out the thyme and bay leaves and discard them. Stir the flour in to the pot, making sure to coat all the onions, and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 1o minutes. Add the beef broth, and then bring the soup to a simmer and cook for another ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Now, there are 2 ways of adding your cheese and bread. I tried both and they work, but I prefer this one:

When you're ready to eat your soup, pour it into a bowl, add a few slices of bread and top with the shredded cheese. Put it under the broiler for a few minutes, or until the cheese has melted and bubbled up.

Alternatively, you could make cheesy croutons and float those in the soup, but I like when the top layer is just cheese 🙂

French onion soup, french soup, onions, red wine, beef broth, cheese, french cheese, gruyere, french bread, baguette, croutons

I'm very proud of this one. The recipe was easy to follow, and although there were quite a few steps and a lot of stirring to make sure nothing burned, i think it was well worth it. I was a little afraid that the flavor wouldn't be very strong, but it all came together in the end.

Check back tomorrow or Friday to see how I managed making Steak au poivre with herbed potatoes and asparagus. Merde. 

 

French onion soup recipe from Tyler Florence, at Foodnetwork.com

 

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