French onion soup...overanalyzed
I first ate this soup in a town called France, and was amazed by its simplicity and deep flavour. Since then, whenever a restaurant has it on its menu, I always order it. Searching in vain to relive that first experience. Now that the cold weathercalls for something like that, I decided to make it myself. This soup has very few and simple ingredients but relies on quality and patience in three key areas.
One is the slow low-heat caramelizationof the onions... any hasty attempts to skip this will ruin the result. Second is a good quality beef stock, (again requiring time but not much effort.) Third is, (of course) the amazing bread & cheesetopping finished under the grill right before serving.
Unfortunately I didn't document my stock process which I left cooking overnight, so I promise to include a post later on. There are however, many virtually identical recipes out there. You can pick whichever you like, but here also there are a few simple procecess that must be followed. Good quality big bones with lots of marrow, a good caramelization of both meat and vegetables, and a low-heat simmering for at least 5 hours. Plan ahead and enjoy.
Ingredients - 8 large white onions cut in half then sliced lengthwise - 8 sliced shallots - 1 leek sliced - 3 thyme stalks - 2 bay leafs - 5 cups good quality beef stock - 2 shots brandy - 2 tbs butter - 1tbs brown sugar - gluten free french baguette bread sliced and toasted - Gruyère or Swiss cheese - salt & pepper
Directions: 1. In the widest skillet available, add the butter and turn the heat to medium/medium low. 2. Add the onions, shallots and leek, sprinkle the sugar and 1tbs of salt and stir so the fat coats all onions. 3. Cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally. If possible for the first 10 minutes cover with lid or foil to help the onions sweat. 4. Turn the heat up to medium/medium high and continue cooking for 10 minutes stirring more often. 5. Empty the onions in a pot and return the skillet on medium high heat. Add the brandy and scrape any brown bits from the onions (this is called deglazing). As soon as the alcohol evaporates (roughly when the liquid is reduced to half) pour the brandy in the pot. 6. Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme and bring to a slow simmer on low heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes. 7. Taste and adjust seasoning, (I like a lot of pepper in this soup), spoon soup in oven-proof serving bowls place a slice of bread on top of each and sprinkle a good handful of cheese on top. Place under a grill and bake until cheese melts and browns a bit.
Tips * For a good caramelization of the onions, most of them should be in contact with the skillet surface, not piled high on top of each other. If necessary use two skillets.
By the way...
If you're interested in the type of stuff I keep stocked in my kitchen or the equipment that I use regularly... here's a pretty comprehensive list.
Tools/ Equipment/ Machinery/ Ingredients:
Electric Scale - Etekcity - http://amzn.to/2xkKpQk
Hand Mixer - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2xkjowh
Stand Mixer - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2yqXPiH
Candy Thermometer - Etekcity - http://amzn.to/2xklw7k
Food Processor - Cuisinart - http://amzn.to/2xkkZqK
Blender - Kenwood - http://amzn.to/2xXQgwU
Silicone Spatula - Zyliss - http://amzn.to/2y3Srkw
Chef's Knife 8" - Miyabi - http://amzn.to/2fUtyRK
Pots & Pans:
Cast Iron Grill Skillet 10.5" - Lodge - http://amzn.to/2z2GPwi
Cake tins & Pie Plates:
Bunt Pan - Nordic Ware - http://amzn.to/2xjGB1N
Square Cake Tin - Patisse - http://amzn.to/2xkn5Ce
Springform cake tin 22cm (9”) - Farberware - http://amzn.to/2xkdQ4T
Ceramic Pie Plate- Emile Henry - http://amzn.to/2gex5qR
Cupcake Tin - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2xkp4GG
Tart Tin Loose Bottom 9.5” - Patisse - http://amzn.to/2xje3u2
Non-Slip Pipping Bags - Pastry Gear - http://amzn.to/2fLxAZ0
Pipping Tips - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2yJVPy1
Food Gels - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2kpOCky
Fondant Smoother - Wilton - http://amzn.to/2xkyZRl
Fondant Rolling Mat - The Mat - http://amzn.to/2y2bg76
Active Dry Yeast - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2gcC2R4
Almond Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xkP3xI
Arrow root - Bob’s Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2ycT0WF
Baking Powder - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xkJz5U
Bicarbonate of Soda - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yL7Lj4
Brown Rice Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2z1MUt1
Buckwheat Flour - Anthony’s Organic - http://amzn.to/2xjRS6T
Flaxseed Meel - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2ybK0Rm
Millet flour - Bob’s Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2iBZqYw
Oat Flour - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2fNUuyZ
Potato Starch - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2yKpYgH
Tapioca Starch - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2xjv879
Vanilla Extract Organic - Simply Organic - http://amzn.to/2xXdt2e
Vanilla Beans - Vanilla Products - http://amzn.to/2yLMqWQ
White Flour GF - Dove's Farm - http://amzn.to/2z1b5I1
Xanthan Gum - Bob's Red Mill - http://amzn.to/2zoYxuC
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