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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

French Onion Soup

Ski season is just around the corner and nothing is better than coming home after a day out in the cold to a bowl of French onion soup.  

A hearty  portion with a salad makes a great, easy meal.  The soup can be prepared ahead and reheated just before serving.  It then just needs to be topped with some toasted baguette, sprinkled with grated cheese and placed under the broiler for a few minutes.

For this recipe,  Port adds a little acidic/sweet flavour and the cheese is a combination of three of my favourites (gruyère, emmental and whisky cheddar - you can use what you like).  As I don't always have homemade beef stock on hand, I tried this new product that I found at the supermarket that was quite good (they also make a good chicken stock).   

You will need:  For 4 hearty portions

  • 2 large yellow onions (400g), cut in half and sliced
  • 1 large leek (300g), white and light green part, washed, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) of olive oil
  • large pinch of salt
  • 6 cups (1.5 litres) of beef stock
  • 2 cups (500ml) of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup (100 ml) of port wine
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf torn in half
  • 1 tbsp of flour blended with 1 tbsp of butter at room temperature (this helps to thicken the soup)
  • salt and pepper
  • baguette (12 slices)
  • 2 cups of grated cheese

  1. Heat the olive oil (2 tbsp - 30ml) over medium heat in a large soup pot;
  2. Add the sliced onions (2 large) and leek (1 large) and sweat for 20 minutes until tender (no colour), stirring often;
  3. Add port wine (1/3 cup - 100ml) and allow to cook off until almost dry (5 minutes);
  4. Add the beef (6 cups - 1.5 l) and chicken stocks (2 cups - 500ml), thyme sprigs (3) and bay leaf (1 large); simmer for 25 minutes;
  5. Add the blended flour and butter  (1 tbsp each) and simmer for another 20 minutes;
  6. Remove thyme and bay leaf.  Season to taste;
  7. While the soup is cooking, slice a day old baguette and toast in a 350°F (180°C) oven until very dry;
  8. When you are ready to serve, turn oven broiler on and heat soup;
  9. Spoon into oven-proof bowls and place toasted baguette on top.  Sprinkle generously with grated cheese and put under the broiler (not too close to the broiler and watch carefully);
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

A little school humour for Kat who is getting ready to write finals - xo

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