Basic (ridiculously easy) French Onion Soup
Or how to jullienne an onion
French Onion soup is one of those soups that I can't believe they sell mixes for. It really is one of the easiest soups you can possibly make.
What you will need is four or five jullienned onions, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, red wine (optional) beef (or pork) stock, swiss (or gruyere) cheese, and croutons.
To jullienne an onion use a sharp knife to cut the ends off. Cut the onion in half across the grain forming two semi-circle halves. Peel the onion halves and set each half with the flat end down and curved end up. Cut the semi-circle halves with the grain of the onion as opposed to against the grain forming matchsticks instead of half rings.
Begin by caramelizing your onions in vegetable oil over medium heat.
Note: Caramelizing is controlled burning. Do not add salt as it will draw out the moisture from the onions and prevent them from caramelizing. Stir your onions only when they are about to burn, you want to have a deep brown color without actually blackening the onions.
When your onions are adequately caramelized, add wine (if desired) to cover and reduce until the liquid is gone. Add beef stock to make a soup.
Note: I've had pretty good success using pork stock leftover from braizing.
Serve each bowl of french onion soup topped with croutons and a slice of swiss cheese. Melt the swiss cheese under a broiler before serving.
Croutons can be made by cutting old bread into cubes, tossing them in olive oil, garlic, and italian seasoning and baking at 350 until crisp.
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