Spring has been a little funny this year. We have had a few warm days, some mild days and a few down right chilly days (for California that is). I also have read that a lot of you in different parts of the country or the world are facing a really cold spring, possibly some snow even. I really cannot imagine. But given the pending rain in the next day or two here, I thought I would offer up one of my very favorite comfort foods which is perfect for a chilly night. Although, unless temperatures are over 85°, I am happy with it any time.
French Onion Soup! Simple and so easy to make and it never fails to make me happy. You can look around at recipes and may have a favorite of your own. Frankly they all seem pretty similar to me. If you taste and add as you go, you should get it just right for your taste. Here is what I put in.
French Onion Soup (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)
2 Tbls unsalted butter
2 Tbls olive oil
5-6 onions sliced thinly
1-3 cloves of garlic diced
1-2 Tbls. fresh chopped thyme (tarragon also works really well)
1/4 cup dry sherry, cognac, or wine (I use sherry usually)
4 cups beef stock (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
French Bread (stale or toasted works best)
Cheese (I prefer a good Swiss cheese such as Gruyère or Emmenthaler. But Mozzarella or provolone also work well. I also think it sometimes melts faster when grated but is prettier if you slice it before putting it under the broiler.)
Melt the butter with olive oil in large stock pot. Add onions, thyme or tarragon and garlic. Cook on medium to low heat until the onions begin to color and turn golden. This will take some time. Stir occasionally and allow at least 20 minutes or more. At this point you can put a lid on the pot and allow the onions to continue their slow cook until brown. Check it often and stir occasionally. Once again, this may take time. Up to another 30 minutes to an hour.
When the onions are the desired color add the alcohol and cook down for a minute or two. Add your stock and bring to a boil.. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or more. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into individual bowls or cruets. Place a piece of toast or bread onto the soup, top with the cheese and place under the broiler until cheese is browned. Serve right away.
BE CAREFUL! I know you are aware that things from the oven are hot but something about these bowls with cheese under the broiler. REALLY hot and easy to burn yourself on. It is also very hot when you take that first bite. I don't know how many times, my tongue has been numbed with burns from onion soup!
To take comfort to an even more comfortable level (especially with little ones). On this particular evening I paired the soup with a simple burger. The kids love theirs with mustard. Normally I want my hamburger with the works but with such a substantial soup, good meat and....
Freshly made rolls created from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe, simple was just right!
And to make the children (and big adult kids) happy, I worked up a batch of homemade fries as well. Remember when I said I was going to blanch a bunch of potatoes and freeze them in this post? Well let me tell you! I did it. I must have cut and blanched about 15 or more potatoes in my deep fryer. When they had cooled enough I put them in ziplock bags and placed them in the freezer. The result was a much quicker homemade fry on the night desired and it was SO crispy! It is my new method. If I have any potatoes and spare time, I will blanch and freeze for the future. The kids love them. I know fries aren't very healthy but it has to be better than fast food right?
Don't forget to RSVP to my virtual Open House and stationery give away! The deadline has been extended until April 12th. Just email a good party recipe to missNnick [at] gmail [dot] com (missNnick@gmail.com) and include your name, blog address, permalink to the entry and a link back to me! Can't wait to see you there! (Note: There are TWO "N"s in the email address.)