Friday, February 20, 2009

Satisfying a Craving

I am so happy to be home, and actually stay here for a while. I just had two amazing trips and loved every minute of both of them but, I miss cooking in my kitchen.

Today I had a craving. French Onion Soup...don't ask me where it came from. San Francisco was actually 60 degrees, our heat was off, and my flip flops were on. Why the craving for a soup that usually satisfies the soul on a chilly day? Who knows. You know how it is when you think of something to eat and just can't get it out of your head.

I went to The New Basics for a reference and modified their recipe to make my own version. I am very happy with the results-it was just what I was hoping for. I served mine with oven roasted cauliflower and panko crusted chicken. You could toss a nice salad and serve it with your soup and that itself makes a fantastic meal.

French Onion Soup (modified from The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins)
1/4 cup butter
4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs white sugar
1 tbs brown sugar
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups good quality beef stock or broth (preferably low sodium)
3 cups good quality chicken stock or broth (preferably low sodium)
2 tbs ruby port (dry sherry would work well too)
Pugliese bread, or a nice baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (1/serving)
grated Gruyere cheese, (about 2 tbs/serving)

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add the onions and stir well. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are beginning to soften, about 20 minutes. If they begin to brown, reduce the heat. Remove the lid, sprinkle with sugar, and continue to cook the onions until they are very soft and translucent, 15-20 minutes more. Don't rush this step-you want the onions to soften and caramelize but not brown and turn bitter. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add the beef broth and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced. Stir in the chicken broth and port and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is rich tasting and golden brown, about 40 minutes more. Soup can be made to this point, cooled, and refrigerated up to 2 days.

Just before serving, reheat the soup. Toast the bread until golden brown. Top each slice of bread with the cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each serving with a Gruyere toast.

Happy Cooking

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