onion soup

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This is a slight variation on traditional French onion soup. We like more onions, some garlic, and a touch of smokey heat.

We also reduce the fat in the soup 75% (4 T. to 1 T.).

Servings:
6 to 10
Preparation Time:
1 hours
Tools
  • 3+ qt. sauce pan w/ lid
  • 3+ qt. soup pot w/ lid (wider than it is tall)
  • cutting board & knife
  • wooden spoon
  • small wire strainer

Ingredients

  • 2 qt. beef stock or vegetable broth
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. onions, cut in half and sliced (mostly yellow onions with a couple red and white)
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1 t. granulated sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed & minced
  • 1 T. white flour or corn starch
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 1/4 t. chipotle powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
Cooking Instructions
  • Place the stock/broth into the sauce pan w/ lid over medium-low heat.
  • Place the soup pot w/ lid over medium heat.
  • Slice the onions.
  • Place the oil into the pot, add the onions, stir to coat, cover, and wait 5 minutes.
  • Stir onions, cover, and wait 5 more minutes.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Uncover onions, add salt and sugar, stir, reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Stir a little every 10 minutes and wait for onions to turn a golden to light brown colour. (40 to 50 minutes.)
  • Stir in the garlic and wait until you can smell it.
  • Spoon the flour or corn starch into the small wire strainer and stir the onions while you shake the flour into the pot. (This helps you keep out the clumps.)
  • Cook the flour for 5 minutes. Cook the corn starch for 1 minute.
  • Add the fish sauce and the wine to the pot.
  • Stir, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot, to get any brown onion/sugar/flour bits off of the bottom of the pot.
  • Stir in the chipotle powder.
  • Carefully pour in the hot stock/broth.
  • Turn heat to high and stir slowly until the soup comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
Source:
Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One (Julia Child)
Notes
For serving, you want oven safe bowls that can go under a high broiler. Place the soup into the bowl leaving at least a 1/2" between the top of the soup and the top of the bowl. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Pile croutons on top of the soup, cover with shredded cheese, and broil until the cheese starts to bubble and browns a bit. Be careful not to burn the cheese.

Traditionally, you would have one large "crouton" that would almost cover the surface of the soup in the bowl. We prefer to use a pile of smaller croutons so the ones on top of the pile stay crunchy.

Always make your own croutons for this soup. We prefer to use our homemade white sourdough baguettes so we get a lot of crust on our croutons, but even a grocery store baguette will make a better crouton than anything you can get pre-made.

You can reduce the fat more by using baked, instead of fried, croutons; and by just using a light grating of strong cheeses (like aged asiago and parmigiano reggiano) instead of covering the bowl with gruyere or fontina.

We also prefer to use the hotter storage onions instead of sweet onions in this soup. By the time the onions are cooked down and start to brown, they are plenty sweet and still have the strong onion flavour.