The world is black and white. Last night’s snow is a thick blanket, erasing the color from my window’s view of the world. Chicago got hit with the first snowstorm of the season, laying about 6 inches of snow on us as we slept. Karma could feel it in her bones. She woke me up every few hours with a nudge and a lick, begging, no, demanding to be let out side. She is akin to an addict in this weather – insane amounts of energy, insatiable appetite for the outdoors, white powder all over her furry face as she frolics around in a frenzy. Ha! I prefer warmer weather, but seeing her so ecstatic makes me long for extended cold winds and snow-covered roads.
On days like this, I’m confined to home. Driving in slushy, slippery roads makes me very nervous. Driving next to people who forget about being cautious in these conditions makes me terrified. As the snow falls, I take a leave of absence from work and errands. I’ll spend time with a good book today on the couch, cuddled up in a quilt my grandmother made, and wait for the soup to be done. What other food would be fitting for such a day?
French onion soup is a wonderful comfort food. Bread and cheese satisfies your belly, a bold broth warms your insides. The onions add a wealth of vitamins and flavor that leave you feeling nourished. That first sip brings a sigh every time. It’s absolutely my favorite, though Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Soup and Thai-Spiced Winter Squash Soup come in a close second and third.
The key to this soup is time. You can find recipes for quick french onion soup, but you’ll be sacrificing a whole lot of flavor. There’s really no way around it. Take the time to let the onions caramelize, the broth simmer, the cheese bubble and crisp and you will be rewarded tenfold. It’s not a hard process, just one that requires patience and planning for best results. Isn’t this true of most things in life?
French Onion SoupPrint Recipe
- 4 medium Vidalia sweet onions
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4-6 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4-6 sprig fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 12 cups beef broth
- 2 tbsp Worchestire sauce
- 1 baguette, sliced
- Soft cheese of choice (I prefer Fontina)
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Peel and slice the onions into 1/4 inch slices. Add the butter to the pan, and then the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour (sometimes I cook mine 15 - 30 minutes more) until onions are caramelized. If onions begin to burn, turn down the heat to medium low. Add more butter if necessary.
Once the onions are caramelized, add the diced garlic. Saute for a minute until fragrant.
Add the flour and stir to combine. Allow to cook for a minute or two, and then add the white wine. Stir to combine, and then cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the beef broth, herbs and worchestire sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.
When the soup is near finished, slice the baguette and the cheese. Heat the broiler to high. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place bread under broiler, keeping a close eye. When bread is a nice golden brown, remove, flip slices, and place back under the broiler. When the other side is toasted, remove from broiler.
Ladel soup into crocks or bowls. Top with two sliced of toasted baguette and layer sliced cheese over in a single layer. Place crocks or bowls on a baking sheet and back under the broiler. Keep a close eye. When cheese begins to bubble and brown, remove from oven.
Crocks and bowls will be hot. Serve
Leftovers are just as good, if not better!