When I came up with a list of soups for the Soup’s On! series, French onion soup was one of the first ones I listed. I love it. But I don’t make it very often. I’m not sure why; it’s easy. Really easy. Instead, I usually save it for special occasions or when I’m eating out. There’s nothing I don’t like about it, so I’ve been going to make it for quite a while.
I started today’s soup by making batards.
I wanted to use slices of them as the croutons. You can use any bread you like, of course. There is something about using homemade bread though.
Of course onions are one of the major components of the soup. There are differences among cooks about how they should be prepared. Some suggest cooking in oil, others butter, and still others a combination of oil and butter. I’m a butter girl. Whatever you decide, please just don’t use margarine. You deserve real food.
How long to cook the onions is also debatable. Some barely cook the onions before adding the liquid ingredients. They prefer to cook the onions in the liquids. Others caramelize the onions completely. Me? I’m kind of a middle of the road cook when it comes to the onions. I cook them until they are very soft and a very light brown. This takes time, and I find you can really notice a difference if you try to hurry the process. It generally takes about 25 to 30 minutes for the onions to reach my desired level of doneness.
When I do make French onion soup, it’s usually after I’ve made a pot roast or some other kind of roast beef dish. I slice some of the leftover beef thinly and add it to the beef stock. I didn’t have any leftover beef, so I skipped it this time. I must admit I really didn’t notice much of a difference. While I often suggest a vegetarian option for the featured soup, I’ve not found an alternative that I really like. Perhaps if you’re used to using vegetarian stock you’ll have better luck, but for my taste, I stick with good beef stock. Some people add red wine, but I don’t. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just seldom have any on hand. I do add some Worcestershire sauce, because that is something I almost always have.
Croutons: to toast or not to toast before putting on the soup. I’m a toaster.
Ah cheese. One of God’s greatest creations. When it comes to cheese for French onion soup, my favorite is probably mozzarella. But I didn’t have any, so I used Gruyere. It works and tastes good. The key for cheese selection is to use a good melting cheese you like.
Here’s tonight’s French onion soup.
It was tasty, especially on this bitterly cold day. Give it a try. Here’s the recipe.© Copyright 2013 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook