French Onion Soup. My favorite soup ever.
I wasn’t feeling too ambitious with my choice to make French Onion Soup first. I figured the hardest part would be slicing that many onions. But, when I got to the store to get my ingredients, I balked at the price of beef stock. My penny-pinching side took over and I figured why not jump in with both feet. So I made the bold decision to make beef stock From Scratch. (A phrase I like because it implies a fiendish influence).
The trouble then was finding beef bones to roast for beef stock. Ribs offered the most bone for my buck, and then we could have ribs for dinner. Seemed like a good idea to me. I roasted my rib bones and some carrots, celery, onion, garlic and tomatoes and threw the whole mess in the crock pot with water and S&P overnight. In the morning I had my beef stock - however – it was not quite as beefy as I had hoped. Not enough bones, I think. It did have a good flavor, though so it was a go for the soup.
I love onions. I cook with them a lot and never have had much trouble, but I had never sliced 3lbs. all in one go. I was a little worried. That first onion was potent! My eyes were watering, nose running, I haven’t seen an onion that strong in a long time. After that first one the rest were a breeze! But the whole house smelled of onions.
The onions sautéd in butter for a while. It was great fun watching them get more and more golden.
Yum! (Seriously, I could eat just this on toast and be a happy girl!)
All of the recipes I’ve read had wine added at this point. I don’t drink wine. I wanted to be sure I came as close as I could get to that French Onion Soup flavor I so love, without wine. So I experimented. I took about a quarter cup white grape juice and added a splash of red wine vinegar. I added my concoction to the beautiful golden onions and let it reduce.
Finally it was time to add my beef stock. Now we have soup!
That greenish patch in the middle is a tea bag filled with dried herbs – thyme, parsley, and bay leaf.
After the soup simmered a bit I toasted some French bread and then put the toast under the broiler with a slice of provolone cheese on top ‘til it was golden and bubbly. I floated the toast on top of the soup and violá: French Onion Soup!
Overall I would say that the soup was a success! Yay! However… there are some things I would do differently next time. The beef stock needed more beef. I will have to look into ordering some bones from a butcher. Also while the grape juice experiment was not a failure, I am not convinced it was necessary, especially if I can get the stock the way I want it. And lastly, I think a sharper cheese would have been nice on the toast. Still, not bad for a first attempt. And it was FUN!
Having battled French Onion Soup and come out mostly triumphant I have set my sights on a sweeter prize : Cheesecake. Stay tuned…
As a side note, my husband (who is a fantastic cook) is making a Pork Loin with a Blackberry Lime Glaze and pasta with lime and chives for dinner tonight. I am so lucky. I’ll let you know how it turns out…