Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rather French Onion Soup for a Souper #SundaySupper

We've had a relatively mild Winter season around here. True, there has been more snow than I remember in about 5 years, but the level of bitterness is much less than the days I spent racing to and from the car back in college. The climate is still much colder than I would like it to be though - and my mom agrees with me! The two of us have something called Raynaud's disease, which is basically an exaggerated response to cold in our fingers and toes (when we get cold, our digits get numb and white). Needless to say, we are both much happier in the warm summer sun.

Be that as it may, it is winter up here, and we need something nice and warm to keep our bodies and spirits fed and comfortable. My stepbrother had been requesting French Onion Soup for weeks, a rarity since he's usually happy with "food" for dinner, and since my mom is still in love with Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking she and I began to craft our own version of the classic with Julia's recipe as a base. In addition to using a concentrated beef stock from our local butcher shop, a splash of cognac and a vibrant Sauvignon Blanc from France (which smelled amazing as it simmered), we used a combination of equally decadent butter and bacon fat to saute the onions. Oh yes - we played the bacon card. Two huge, Gruyère-topped bowls later, my stepbrother declared it "awesome" (which in this world is equal to a 5-star critique), and asked if we could make it again next week! It's certainly simple enough to do - though it requires some time and loving patience (don't all good things?). The end result is so worth it - warming literally and spiritually, and a fitting #SundaySupper for our soup week!

Rich French Onion Soup

This week, our #SundaySupper family is serving up a whole kettle of soup! Check out what's on the table below:

Do The Chicken Dance (chicken {or other poultry} soups)

Where’s The Beef (Beef Soups)

Pass The Pork. Please (Pork or Sausage Soups)

Under The Sea (Seafood Soups)

Eat Your Veggies (Chock Full o’ Vegetables Soups)

Some Don’t Like It Hot (Chilled Soups)

Of course, after we've whet your appetite with these bowls of comfort, you can't miss our  #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter tonight at 7PM ET! Just follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and include it in your tweets to join in the chat. We also have a fantastic #SundaySupper Pinterest board with more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Rather French Onion Soup 
Makes 6 large bowls
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp rendered bacon fat (or canola oil)
8 large onions, thinly sliced into "half-moons" (approx 3 lbs)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp flour (you can use rice flour for GF)
8 cups low-sodium beef stock, hot
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1/4 cup cognac
1 cup dry white wine (we used a French Sauvignon Blanc)
6 thick slices of French bread, cut to the size of the serving bowls and toasted (use GF French Bread if needed)
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (for a true French soup, use Comté)
  1. Heat a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat with the butter and bacon fat.
  2. Stir in the onions and cover.
  3. Cook slowly, stirring once or twice, until onions are tender and translucent, about 12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salt and sugar, increase the heat to medium, and let the onions cook, stirring just enough to prevent burning, until brown (25 to 30 minutes).
  5. Sprinkle the flour and cook slowly, stirring constantly, for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 cups of hot stock.
  7. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer, adding the rest of the stock, thyme, Cognac, and wine.
  8. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.
  9. Remove thyme sprig and simmer a further 15 minutes, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Taste for seasoning.
  10. Divide the soup between 6 ovenproof bowls.
  11. Arrange toast on top of soup and sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated cheese on top of each croute.
  12. Place bowls on a baking sheet and place under a preheated broiler until cheese melts and forms a crust over the tops of the bowls.
  13. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 526.9
Total Fat: 21.0 g
Cholesterol: 50.0 mg
Sodium: 1,209.7 mg
Total Carbs: 57.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.6 g
Protein: 21.6 g