Mom’s French Onion Soup

You know by now how much my mom loved to entertain.  There were certain foods that announced company coming.  One of these was French Onion Soup.  I can still smell the rich beef broth.  She had special bowls she would bring out that framed the baguettes floating on top.  But, you also know by now how much I hate frou-frou and going to a lot of work for a simple meal.  I am not the party girl I used to be.

But, it is soup weather and it’s time to make mom’s onion soup.  I think most people assume it’s a lot of work.  I’m sure it can be, but it also can be streamlined and made easier.  The one step you can’t skip is caramelizing the onions.

1/2 cup butter

4 onions, sliced, about 2 pounds (I like a variety of onions)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup red wine, dry, not sweet (I usually have Pinot Noir on hand so that’s what I use, but a Cabernet or a Merlot would be fine)

3 heaping tablespoons flour

2 quarts beef broth

1 baguette, sliced

1/2 pound Gruyere, grated

Melt the butter in a large 12″ pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.  Sprinkle the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for approximately 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler to toast the bread and melt the cheese.  I could have broiled these longer, but we were hungry.

*  From the Recipe Box:

This is mom’s recipe.  She had the cutest bowls with lids that held about 2 cups, like the ones below, only hers were a solid brown.  This recipe would fill about 4 to 6 of them.  When I moved to the Island I lost track of them.

Gruyere is the most bestest (yes, that is a word) cheese for this soup.  It’s the nutty flavor.  You can never use too much cheese.  I usually divide the soup in half and eat half and freeze half.  Rich, intense flavor.

G doesn’t like baguette slices, he’d rather have croutons so he doesn’t have to try and cut the crusts.  Needless to say, it’s great both ways.

and remember:  If you don’t mean what you say, shut the hell up.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

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