Monday, January 19, 2009

Wonderful onion soup!

I adapted my recipe from The Best Onion Soup Ever, but since it's still stewing away downstairs and I can only smell it so far, the tentative title is simply Wonderful Onion Soup... I may update that later. (Later: it's good. Maybe not the best EVER, but quite yummy.)

This was one of those random cravings that just zinged through my brain and I had to come home and make it immediately. Luckily I had all the ingredients except some gooey white bread to make croutons, but I'll figure that out later. There are worse things than healthier bread croutons, I suppose, and I may even just make do with lovely sprinkles of shredded gruyere on top. (Later: I managed to get out and find a baguette before we devoured the soup. I couldn't really bear to use whole wheat sandwich bread.)

On to the recipe. I found it on a blog that sent me to the original from Cook's Illustrated, which is a big fave of mine. I couldn't help but change it according to my whims and what was in the cupboard. Of course.

Onion Soup
(Serves 6; or me and husband, twice.)
Notes: For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe. (I was able to wait a day before eating, and I choose to believe the flavors deepened wonderfully!)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
4 large yellow onions, sliced thinly
Table salt
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups vegetable broth
3 bay leaves
Ground black pepper
1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Generously spray the inside of a heavy-bottomed large Dutch oven with a nonstick cooking spray. Place the butter in the pot and add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, for 1 hour (the onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove the pot from the oven and stir the onions, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot. Return the pot to the oven with the lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until the onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring the onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.

Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until the liquid evaporates and the onions brown, reducing the heat to medium if the onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pot bottom is coated with a dark crust, adjusting the heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until the sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the broth and bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot.

Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves, then season with salt and pepper.

For the croutons:
Lightly toast baguette slices in a toaster. Set aside.

To serve:
Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 10-15 minutes minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. (As you can see from the picture above, I did soup-for-two in a small shallow baking pan and it worked just perfectly.)

Do you think we liked it?

1 comment:

  1. I can tell how much you all liked it! I'm pretty certain that photo isn't post-garbage dumping!! DER--I wish I could eat bread and cheese--it looks amazing, Sherilee!


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