About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

French Onion Soup

I always like to make French Onion Soup when winter is at its fiercest.  With a cheerful fire crackling and the aroma of this hearty classic, the blizzard and snowdrifts makes us thankful to be warm and cozy inside.   I've also served it at holiday luncheons with a grapefruit and avocado salad.  Some recipes call for a stronger onion, like red, but I prefer a milder sweet onion combined with leek.  Spend a little extra on good quality Gruyere or Comte' cheese, the full body flavor and delightful stringy mess is part of the experience.  An inexpensive mandolin make the slicing so much easier, but use the safety handle, those things are sharp!

2 tbls olive oil
4 large sweet onions
a pinch of sugar
4 leeks, white and tender parts, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic minced
8 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper
12 slices French bread
4 oz. shredded Gruyere or Comte' cheese

In a large nonaluminum dutch oven over medium-low heat, warm the oil.  Add the onions and saute', stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 mins.  Add the sugar and leeks and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until caramelized, 30-45 mins.  Increase heat if necessary to achieve color.

Add the garlic and saute' for 1 min.  Add the stock, wine, bay leaf and thyme.  Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 mims.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Discard the bay leaf.

To serve, preheat the broiler.  Ladle the soup into individual flameproof soup bowls.  Place 2 or 3 slices of toasted bread on top of each bowl and sprinkle with the cheese.  Slide under the broiler about 6 inches from the heat element.  Broil until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, 3-4 mins.  Serve immediately.

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