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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

French Onion Soup

This past Thursday I woke feeling quite under the weather with a sore throat and painful sinuses.  While it is the time of year where illness increases, it is not a good time of the year for me to be sick.  Normally at the first signs of a sore throat my thoughts turn to making homemade chicken noodle soup.  It isn't called Jewish penicillin for nothing!  The noodles are easy on the tummy and throat, the soup is nourishing and the onions have natural antibiotic properties.  Slicing or chopping the onions help get the sinuses flowing which is always a good thing.  This time, I turned to French Onion Soup, chocked full of onions and quite easy to make when you aren't feeling well.

onions caramelizing for French onion soup
The basis of French onion soup is onions.  I like using Vidalia or Spanish onions but cooking onions work well too.  I prefer using homemade beef stock.  A stock (made with bones) has a deeper, richer flavour than broth that is made with the meat only.  I like roasting the bones to deepen the flavour before making the stock as well.  Next to tomato products, meat stocks are my most home canned product. 

A critical point in making French onion soup is the at point of caramelization as pictured.  This is just when the onions begin to caramelize and where they will begin to stick.  When this happens it is time to keep a close eye on the caramelizing onions.  The goal is good, rich caramelization without burning or scorching.  

French Onion Soup
recipe by:  Garden Gnome

⅓  c butter
6 c sliced onions
6 c homemade beef stock
½ tsp browning
sea salt/fresh ground pepper to taste
1 slice of bread per serving
2 slices cheese (eg. Provolone, Havarti, Swiss) per serving

Place the butter in a large sauce pan.  Melt over medium heat then add onions, stirring occasionally.  At the point of the start of caramelization stir often to prevent sticking or burning.  When the onions are caramelized, pour in the beef stock and browning.  Warm through then add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a low boil.  Remove from heat.  Set oven proof onion soup bowls onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Ladle soup into the bowls leaving about a half inch head space.  Place one slice of bread on top in each bowl.  Add two slices of cheese of your choice.  Bake at 400ºF until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.  Remove from oven.  Serve.

Caution: French onion soup retains heat considerably longer than other soups creating a burn risk as does the soup bowl itself.  Be sure to allow the soup to cool sufficiently before consuming.  

French onion soup
French onion soup is simply delightful!  Doesn't it just look delicious?  A bowl of French onion soup usually costs around $6 in the grocery store and yet homemade, it is one of the most frugal soups you can make using your own homemade stock.  A bowl of homemade French onion soup costs about 75¢ if that meaning you can make 8 servings of French onion soup at home for the same price as you would pay for one serving in a restaurant.   It is a great way to use up those last couple of pieces of homemade or bakery bread that is not quite a fresh as it should be.  French onion soup is the perfect soup for a cold winter's day!


4 food lovers commented:

Des said...

Awww...I love French Onion soup. And I often believe it to be something difficult to prepare. I'll be sure to go back on this recipe. :)

Best Regards!
Des of chicsassymom.com

Elvirah said...

That really looks delicious and very easy to make it home. But can i use meat in place of beef? is that possible? coz i dont eat beef.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Des :)

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Elvirah, yes you could use a chicken or vegetable stock if desired. It will change the flavour of the soup somewhat.