Can’t decide if I like this photo or not. Winter is winding up here in Massachusetts, and I hadn’t made French onion soup yet, so I figured I needed to do that. Our daughter was home for Spring Break last week, so we made dinner a couple of times. French onion soup is one of the lowest-efffort meals I can think of, but is always very satisfying and delicious. A friend asked me if I used brandy or stout in my soup. If I have brandy on hand, I’ll use that, but have never actually tried making it with stout. I would think it would add too much bitterness. I didn’t have any brandy last week, so used some leftover red wine, which was entirely suitable.
I was just thinking about Frech onion soup the other day, and this picture popped up in my Google Photos highlights from this week last year. It’s another one of those dishes that is very low-effort/high-reward.
I have a mandoline that I use to slice the onions for something like this. You get very uniform slices, and you can whiz through the half-dozen or so large onions you need in no time at all. I have learned the hard way that you should ALWAYS use the guard, even if you think you’ve got enough onion left not to cut yourself, because you WILL cut yourself (possibly quite badly) if you don’t.
Once you’ve sliced your half-dozen large onions (and hopefully nothing else), melt a stick of butter in a very large pot (my big LeCreuset is perfect for this) and add the onions to the pot. You can also add some finely chopped shallots and even a clove of garlic to make the flavor more complex. It takes quite a while for them to cook down and caramelize, but you don’t have to stand over the pot the whole time. Once they’re cooked down to your liking, add your beef stock, a good glug of wine (I’ve tried using port, brandy, and just red table wine and I think a dry-ish red wine is best) and season. I like a little fresh thyme, but just enough to know it’s there.
I don’t go overboard with the melted cheese on top, just enough to cover the top of the floated baguette slice, and always Gruyere or Emmenthal, not Mozzarella. It’s not a frickin’ pizza.