Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Soup for the French, and the Gods

What to do with a bag of red onions? Why, those onions are just crying to become French onion soup! You would think it would be hard to make this bowl of rich and juicy onions topped in crusty gruyere. Not so. If I can do it while watching Benjamin Button, you can too. Just gather the ingredients and this dish--made possible by the Food Network's Tyler Florence, whose recipe I've duplicated below--is all yours for just a few bucks. And I must say, the flavor brings back to flashing images of Paris and my mom's beefy, juicy, brisket. Not a bad combination....



1/2 cup unsalted butter ($1)
4 onions, sliced ($2.69)
2 garlic cloves, chopped ($1)
2 bay leaves ($1.49)
2 fresh thyme sprigs (not sure how much this would cost you because I got mine from the garden)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle ($1.99)
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour ($2.99)
2 quarts beef broth (I use pareve beef buillon, $3.49)
1 baguette, sliced ($1)
1/2 pound grated Gruyere ($2.49)

The Grand Total: $18.14 for about 4 servings, or $4.54 per serving

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 5 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. 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.

Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

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