Friday, 18 March 2011

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup (Soupe à l'oignon) must be the most well known soup in French cuisine. This flavourful dish is now enjoyed all over the world but was once known as the food of the poor since onions were cheap and simple to farm. This recipe requires quite a lot of patience since sweating and caramelizing onions can take a while. Patience, however, is rewarding. It guarantees a balanced rich flavour and beautiful silky texture. To add more aroma I suggest using an extra teaspoon of Herbes Du Provence; it never fails to give the soup an additional layer of warm earthy taste.


    2 onions (unpeeled) 1 clove garlic 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter 2 tsp (10 mL) granulated_sugar 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Herbes Du Provence  1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper Pinch salt 4 cups (1 L) beef stock 1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic or red_wine_vinegar 4 slices French_bread 3/4 cup (175 mL) shredded Swiss_cheese


On cutting board and using small knife, cut onions in half from stem to root end. Cut thin slice off stem end. Peel off outer skin. Place cut side down; cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Peel off outer skin from garlic; chop finely.

In large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until starting to bubble. Add onions, garlic, sugar, Herbes du Provence, pepper and salt. Stir with wooden spoon until onions are coated with butter. Cover pan with lid; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until onions are limp.
Pour in beef stock and balsamic vinegar; increase heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place oven rack on second rung from top. Preheat broiler for 5 minutes. Toast bread in toaster or under broiler until golden brown; set aside. Place 4 ovenproof soup bowls on baking sheet or pan. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with toast slices. Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.
Wearing oven mitts, place tray of bowls under broiler; broil for about 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

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