January 1, 2009

Kickass French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

I love French Onion Soup. Panera makes my favorite. After trying a copycat version, I've modified it to be more to my liking.

I love this soup. Now you can make it, too. And you must. If you have never made soup in your life before, now is a good time to start, because this is easy. If you have your own broth or stock, then you can make this from scratch, but I use canned.

Aces Onion Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 cups sliced onions or about 5 med-large onions sliced.
  • 2 cans beef broth (14 oz each)
  • 8 oz chicken broth, or 1/2 of a 14 oz can of chicken broth.
  • 3 Tbsp flour (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, ground fine
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • optional hot sauce (one or two squirts - optional)

Melt the butter in a 6 quart pot or saucepan. Add your sliced onions and saute them. As they reduce, at first they'll become creamy. Then the creaminess will brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently and scrape that brown stuff off the bottom of the pan, mixing it in. It's concentrated awesomeness, and is the flavor base of your soup. Brown the onions, but don't burn them, as that will bitter your soup.

When the onions are generally browned (and this takes me at least 1/2 hour) the difficult part is over. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes as the house fills with the aroma of deliciousness.

Panera serves this soup with asiago cheese. I can never get my asiago cheese to be as melty and chewy as theirs, so I don't always bother with it. But if you want to give that a shot, be my guest. Almost any stringy cheese would be good.

A couple of drops of hot sauce give it a little zing, either Tabasco or Frank's.

Serve this with some crusty bread. You'll want it to sop up the last remaining soup in your bowl.

For my GF friends, you can leave out the flour, or substitute a small amount of some other starch thickener.

I commented today about onions sauteed in butter being the start of a recipe that would always lead you in a good direction, and Bull jokingly challenged me to use bananas as a next ingredient. In actuality, I bet that if you left out the flour and mashed up half a banana into the onions while you were reducing them, you'd get a not-too-unpleasant effect. I'd try it, but I hesitate to mess with my favorite onions soup.

Posted by James at January 1, 2009 6:01 PM
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I like a drop or two of worcestershire sauce in onion soup.

I don't know if I'd put bananas in onion soup, but I think onions would be good with bananas. They're good with plantains, anyway. Bananas are sweeter, but I don't think that kills the deal by any means.

Posted by: Julie at January 1, 2009 6:50 PM

I wouldn't put bananas in onion soup either. However, if you absolutely had to, I bet it would be better than it sounds.

Posted by: James at January 1, 2009 7:50 PM

Have you tried the onion soup at Ellie's in Westport? Very good stuff there...

Posted by: bigsam27 at January 1, 2009 11:57 PM

I have not. I wonder how it compares to Panera's.

Posted by: James at January 2, 2009 4:15 AM

It doesn't matter, because yours is the best, dear. :-)

And next time we see Bull, he's getting served banana-onion soup.

Posted by: Maggie at January 2, 2009 1:04 PM

Fine, bring it on!

And for the record, I would have actually tried a bananas/onion foster.

Posted by: Bull at January 2, 2009 1:30 PM

I bet it would be good on toast. Especially with peanut butter.

Posted by: Julie at January 2, 2009 2:35 PM

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