Wednesday, March 17, 2010

French Onion Soup

There is a little restaurant in the town of Wellsville NY, called the Beef Haus. Their menu isn't very big, but the food is incredible and the price is right. It is my favorite place to eat and we normally go there for just about any occasion. They make a French onion soup that is to die for! I swear it has to be because of all the beef scraps and bones that they must make their beef stock with. While I have tried unsuccessfully to get them to part with their recipe, I have failed on all attempts. My recipe comes close, and my husband says it's so much better then the the Beef Haus, but I'm still partial to theirs. Perhaps it's because I don't have to cook it!

What You Need:

3-4 large white onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs butter
1/2 c sherry
6-8 cups beef stock
1 tsp dried thyme, or a couple sprigs of fresh
salt and pepper
2 tbs beef base
8 slices of Gruyère cheese
4 thick slices French bread
Parmesan cheese

What To Do:

In a heavy bottomed pot, slowly sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil and butter. You want to caramelize the onions and to do this they need to be cooked over medium low heat, stirring only when they start to brown on the bottom. You can add a pinch or two of sugar to the onions to help this process if you'd like. Once the onions are cooked, season with a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and once the onions start to sizzle, deglaze the pan with the sherry. Add in the beef stock, thyme and beef base, give it a stir and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. This gives a chance for the flavors to combine and concentrate.

While the soup is cooking, take 4 thick slices of French bread, drizzle each side with a bit of olive oil and place on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown and crispy. About 10 minutes or so.
When the soup is done, preheat your broiler and ladle the soup into oven safe crocks. Float a piece of toast on top of each soup. Place two pieces of cheese on top of that, so that it covers the entire crock and hangs off the side a pit. Sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan cheese on the top and place under the broiler for a few minutes. You want the cheese to be melted, bubbly and slightly browned. Carefully remove the crocks from the oven, they will be pretty hot. Place on a plate and sprinkle the top of the soup with a little freshly chopped parsley.

Just a couple notes:
--When choosing a bread for french onion soup, I usually buy a batard. It's shorter and wider then the normal french bread and is usually the perfect size for my soup crocks.
--Gruyère is a french swiss cheese that is most commonly used for french soup. It can found in the cheese case of every grocery store I have ever been to, plus it's the only swiss cheese I like. If you're not partial to swiss or can't find it for some reason, a provolone cheese would work as well.
--The sherry I use is found near the specialty vinegars like balsamic. It's just a small bottle, and inexpensive which works perfectly for this recipes as it's the only thing I use sherry for. It's normally on the top shelf, along side the white wine for cooking. 
--Beef base is this thick, molasses like concentration of beef stock. It gives the soup a great depth of flavor. You'll find it near the canned soups, however it could be near bouillon cubes as well. Look for the brand "Better than Bouillon"

1 comment:

I would love to hear what you think about this recipe! Please leave a comment and make sure to include you email so that I can reply to you!

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