3-3: French Onion Soup

It’s the middle of summer right now, so soup’s probably not your first thought. However, I continue to be surprised that how no matter how hot outside it is, people still enjoy soup. So here’s a classic: 3-3: French Onion Soup.

Simply Delicious cites Les Halles (the Parisian farmers’ market, not the NY restaurant where Anthony Bourdain worked) as the originator of French onion soup. I wasn’t able to directly verify that with 5 minutes of lazy Googling, but I did find a food timeline that gives a bit of the dish’s history–I suppose their claim is totally still possible.

I’ve been meaning to cook this one for ages–I’ve pulled the card out, put it back, and pulled it out again several times over the course of this project. Most of the time, the bread that we’d buy for it would get stale/eaten before I got the chance to actually make the soup. Not this time!

Ingredients. I chose to use beef bouillon/stock instead of vegetable because I feel like that’s usually how you see the recipe, and cheap chardonnay for my white wine. For my French bread, I went with a local (N. California) specialty–Dutch crust (or Dutch crunch) bread, also sometimes referred to as tiger bread.

Save yourself time and effort when processing large amounts of ingredients by doing all of each stage at a time–peel them all, then slice them all.

Big bowl of sliced onions–no tears here.

Starting to cook all those onions down in the saucepan–good caramelization takes a while

In May of this year (2016) we took a trip to the East coast and did a mini-road-trip around New England. Along the way I picked this maple garlic pepper up in Kittery, ME, one of the only maple-related things I was able to bring back with me in my carry-on-only luggage.

Looks like a lot less onions now, and even then they could go longer and get browner.

Building my soup base with beef broth and spices. This particular beef bouillon doesn’t look as dark as most beef stock, and so this soup looks a bit lighter than traditional French onion soup but tastes just as beefy.

My pot lid doesn’t quite fit, but it’ll get the job done–the soup itself is much farther down than where the lid is resting.

I know, I know…get some lids that fit.

Boiling and bubbling along.

Opening the wine with my wine key–people have bought me all sorts of fancy wine openers (which is a waste, I don’t even really like wine that much), but this simple tool that came with one of my very first college Target kitchen-in-a-box sets has never let me down.

I LOVE 1970s brown drip dish sets (I have a weird fascination with the 1970s despite being born in the mid-1980s), and this piece is one from a Goodwill score. Seemed perfect for some French onion soup.

Cut off a piece of bread that fit just about perfectly into the mug. It was a little stale at this point (ugh…ALWAYS), but luckily that works fine for soup.

They suggest Cheddar or Jarlsberg cheese as the topping, and most other recipes suggest Gruyère. I decided to go with Swiss as a close enough approximation.

After a trip through the toaster oven broiler. It was delicious, as you’d expect.

Grade: A-