During autumn and winter, french cuisine is in it prime. It's probably due to the rich, comforting nature of French food, made with lots of cheese, lots of meat, and lots of wine. Mmmmm. My particularly favorite dish is french onion soup, made deeply flavorful by slow-caramelized onions and hints of fresh thyme. The best (and in my mind, only) way to serve it is with a fresh baguette and melted gruyere. For many Americans, soup alone does not a meal make, so I recommend serving it with a light vinaigrette salad or small appetizer.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 4 onions, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
- 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 quarts beef broth
- 1 baguette, sliced
- 7oz grated Gruyere
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- Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, 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 10 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
- Dust 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 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
- Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler or oven. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.