Tuesday, January 11, 2011

French Onion Soup

Parlez vous francais? Bon moi non plus.

Ahh it's French Bistro night in my kitchen! It has been a very cold week around here so I decided to try this french onion soup recipe that I came across in my Cooking Light Recipe Makeovers magazine. My first encounter with French onion soup was on a trip to Milwaukee with Mr. Max. His family took us to brunch at a lovely restaurant overlooking Lake Michigan. He had ordered the soup as one of his starters, I a salad, but that soup smelled amazing. Being the fine gentleman that he is, he offered to let me try some.

It was amazing, I couldn't believe I hadn't tried french onion soup before! I remember saying that I needed to start getting that instead of the incredibly high in everything-under-the-sun tomato basil soup at La Madeleine. Well, that was over a year ago and I still haven't had it again to this day. That all changes tonight, my friends.

Reading about this soup, I'll share insight that I came across - the biggest factor in this soup is caramelizing the onions to bring out the natural sugars enhancing the onion flavor and sweetness. So don't rush the cooking process, the key to their flavor is low and slow. This is perfect for a night that you have some time on your hands or can leave and come back. The total cook time is about 2 hours for this soup - important to know going in.

One thing I would consider doing differently is to use a sweet red wine rather than a dry white - I feel like it could do leaps and bounds for the flavor, further extracting the sweet onion and hearty stock.

This soup is 290 calories, 9.6g fat, 16.8 g protein, 33.4g carbs, 3.1g fiber, 317mg calcium.

Grocery List:
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly vertically sliced sweet onion
  • 4 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups less-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 4-5 slices french bread
  • 4 slices reduced fat Swiss cheese
To slice my onions thin and perfect, I picked up a Mandoline at World Market - I love this thing!

Perfectly thin onion rings!

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pan and saute for about 5 minutes, until tender. Stir in sugar, pepper and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Increase the heat to medium-high and saute 5 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in wine and cook for about 1 minute. Add the broth and thyme, then bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for two hours.

When you are almost ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Please bread on a baking sheet and broil for 1 minutes on either side.

Place the oven safe bowls on a cooking sheet and ladle soup into each bowl. Top with bread, followed by the cheese then boil for 3 minutes, or until cheese is brown.

Carefully remove the soup from the oven and let cool then serve.

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