French Onion Soup (inspired by Secrets of a Restaurant Chef)
- 8 large onions, sliced evenly
- 6 ounces dry sherry
- 1 bundle thyme (from our garden!!)
- 2 quarts chicken stock (vegetable stock)
- 12 thin slices baguette (you'll only need 2 per bowl)
- 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated (or, whatever you have in the house - we used shredded mozz., but next time I'd use shredded swiss - for more bite)
- olive oil & salt & pepper.
- 4 bay leaves, 1/2 bunch chopped chives (I skipped these)
- Add the sliced onions to a deep pot (bottom coated in olive oil) at medium heat. Salt heavily. Toss onions until they are all coated. Cover and sweat the onions for 15-20 min. (We had too many onions in that pot. Next time I'll work with 3/4 of the recipe).
- Once the onions have softened & released water, remove lid and "let the onions cook looooow and sloooooooooow." This should have taken an hour. For us, it took about 3-4 hours. Use medium low heat (not low). But, no matter, it is worth it. The onions turn brown right at the end and they are INCREDIBLE.
- When the onions look like the photo above (what a difference!), add the sherry (be careful it's sooo sweet) and cook off the alcohol, by half. Add the veggie stock, thyme bundle (and bay leaves, if you've got 'em). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for at least 1 hour. "Chef's notes: TASTE for seasoning, you probably will need to season with salt. If the stock reduces too much add water to keep the liquid level up- this IS a soup after all. When done, the soup should be thick and very full flavored. TASTE! You may need to reason, caramelized onions are very sweet and require a fair amount of salt. "
- Toast the baguette slices. Fill ovenproof crocks 3/4 of the way with the onion soup, float 2 toasts in each bowl and top with grated cheese. Place the crocks under the broiler to melt the cheese and make it brown and bubbly. Top with chopped chives.
Final Note: I picked these cuties up at Salvation Army a month or two ago -- $3 for the pair. I bought them to make a mini-pizza crock I had had years ago, but haven't found the right froz bread dough for the recipe. Instead, their first use was as it should be--french onion soup!