Saturday, November 5, 2011

French Onion Soup, the easy way

I love soup, especially when the weather is cooler and I can put a big pot of soup on to simmer the day away.  Sometimes, that's just not possible and when that's the case, and I still want a nice bowl of soup, especially my favorite, French Onion Soup, I take a few shortcuts.  However, no matter what you do, you still need to cook the onions long and slow.   It's the next part I use as a short cut.   I use a package of McCormick's Au Jus for the stock, just dilute it a little more and voila, a nice base for my onions to nestle into and simmer away with.

Here's the basics.
Slice up 4 or 5 onions into slices, and then saute them in some olive oil and butter over fairly low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.

The onions should be nice and translucent, and starting to turn golden brown.  Then pour one cup of water over the onions, stirring them to release any fond left on the pan, you do want all that luscious browned bits to be incorporated into the soup.  At this point you can either make up the Au Jus with 5 cups of water in a separate pot or pour the Au Jus mix over the onions, put a lid on it and let them simmer for about 30 minutes, until the onions are tender.

I add about 1-2 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce the last few minutes while the soup is simmering.  I've found if I add the Worcestershire sauce too early, it can develop a bitter taste.
While the soup is simmering, prepare your cheese toast.

Slice day or so old artisan bread into slices and place some Swiss cheese on top, and then place them into a 300 deg. oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Take out the cheese toast and place into a bowl.    Ladle the soup over the cheese toast and top with a couple of thin slices of Swiss Cheese to finish it off.
French Onion Soup
And there you have it, from thought to soup in just over an hour.    A nice healthy, hearty soup that even the meat eaters in your family will like.

If you have some nice beef stock in the freezer or cupboard, by all means use that, but I rarely, if ever, have it, but I do have those wonderful little packets of Au Jus mix in my spice drawer.  They're great to have on hand for quick seasonings, soup, mock stock, etc.  
Sid Munkholm
Sid Munkholm

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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