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Shhhhh…..The secret’s in the sauce

Or broth……

This French onion soup was delicious and I am not sure if its because of the cheese it’s self or everything together that made it so good. I think if you just melted a bowl of cheese under the broiler I would like it just as much, hahaha ok maybe that is gross but kind of true. This recipe has a few variations so you can make it which ever way sounds the best for your taste. Hopefully I explain it well, the notes I took while cooking it last night are a little crazy. None-the-less, here we go
French Onion Soup Gratin 

WHAT YOU NEED:
6 large onions sweet onions (you can use red as well I like the Vidalia or Maui onions but this works with plain ol yellow onions too)
3 to 4 large garlic cloves ( if you are a garlic lover add more)
1 tsp Thyme (fresh or dried, we only had dry so I added a little more like a 1 & 1/2)
1 Tsp Fresh Oregano (I had frozen it from the summer so I did have the fresh if not use 1/2 tsp dried the dried tastes different and stronger for some reason)
3 Tbls Olive Oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper (My favorite spice from Newport Spice Company) OPTIONAL
2 Bay Leaves (dried or fresh)
10 cups stock (recipe below for the different variations) this cooks down so you end up with about 7 or 8 cups
8 slices Ciabatta bread 1/2 inch thick (this holds up best in my opinion french bread or Italian get mushy fast but use what you’ve got)
6 oz Gruyere  cheese (you can use swiss as well but Gruyere is the best or do a combo)
Pepper to taste (there is plenty of salt in this already so don’t put it on the table)

BROTH RECIPES: I’m giving you options here because I like to do a meatless broth but it can be done several ways and be delicious
Vegetarian: My Husband did not know it was vegetarian!!
2 Cups red wine (red helps the color turn rich and deep like a beef broth but white will work as well)
1 1/2 Cups Soy Sauce (it sounds crazy but this gives it the “beefy taste” it needs) go low sodium if you want also.
8 Cups of Water
1 Vegetable bullion cube (optional) I did use it because I like strong flavors in soups
1 Tbls Sweet Spanish Paprika (adds to the rich red color)

BEEF:
6 Cups Beef broth from a carton (canned has a tinny taste and the carton ones are much better)
2 Cups red wine
4 Cups Water
BEEF COMBO:
3 Cups Beef Broth (carton)
3 Cups Chicken Broth (carton)
2 Cups red wine
4 Cups Water

WHAT YOU DO:
Cut the onions in half and peel the skin. Using a mandolin slice the onions about a 1/4 inch thick. No mandolin? just cut them 1/4 in thick. The mandolin just makes it quicker and the slices uniform
I like the onion cut in half so they are not too long if you do them in rings they end up really long and can flop down off the spoon while you are trying to eat them and slap you chin and burn it (happens to me because I like my soup just on the verge of scalding)
Put them in a large stock/soup pot with the olive oil and caramelize them over med-high heat. When you first put them in it looks like a ton of onion but they will cook down. This takes about 20 min just keep an eye on them & stir frequently.
Once they are bout half way caramelized add in the oregano, thyme, bay leaves & sugar.
also add the garlic but use a microplane to “mince” it so there are no chunks
once the onions are cooked/caramelized add in the wine and cook for a few minutes to cook out the raw wine flavor
Add in remaining “stock” and simmer for 1 hour letting the stock reduce and get a little thicker.

Now for the best part!!
toast your 8 pieces of Ciabatta with a little drizzle of olive oil (I like it very crunchy so I toast it to a nice brown color)
use a vegetable peeler and peel the gruyere cheese into long pieces

REMOVE BAY LEAVES.  IT’S A FOODIE FAUX PAS TO GET ONE IN YOUR SPOON.

In an oven proof bowl add the soup to about a 1/4 inch from the top, nice and full
place the tasted bread on top (its ok if it over laps or doesn’t fit in perfectly)
top with plenty of the cheese, do not skimp the more the better in this case
place under broiler until bubbly and turning brown, Keep  a constant eye on it, you want it just right and not burnt.
CAREFULLY remove them from the oven and be sure to put on a plate and warn the people eating it the bowl is hot
(it sounds cliche but people will grab the bowl to steady it because the cheese is baked on and the hard crunchy parts stuck are irresistible )

This one got the “best one yet” remark from my husband and the “better then The Glass Onion” which is a restaurant we went to just for the French onion soup so I am very proud of this one!

Enjoy- T




 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cynthia
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 15:23:25

    So tasty and delicious!! Would definately make again!!

    Reply

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