It’s been a rough summer, mainly due to Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles on my raspberries. Japanese beetles eating my baby apple tree. Japanese beetles in my sleep.
You know one thing Japanese beetles don’t like? Onions.
I’ve got a LOT of onions and it’s a rainy day, so I know what I’m doing with them.
French onion soup and me have a funny, romantic history. When my now-husband and I got together, we would only be able to see each other on weekends when he came into town. We’d spend those weekends cooking elaborate dinners and going out for elaborate lunches (and I ate sandwiches the rest of the week). One Friday he decided to make homemade French onion soup and it was the best thing he had ever made me.
The only downside? The entire house became imbued with onion smell. Onion smell in my clothes. Onion smell in my backpack (I was in college then). Onion smell even in my skin. For weeks, I walked around with the full understanding that I smelled like the inside of a Campbell’s Soup can.
And you know what?
The soup was still worth it.
French Onion Soup
(adapted very lightly from Deb, Goddess of all things delicious, who adapted it from Julia Child, goddess in general)
- 1 1/2 lbs peeled yellow onions (refrigerate for at least 30 minutes)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1/4 tsp white sugar
- 2-3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 8 c beef stock (salted, not unsalted)
- 1/2 dry white wine or dry vermouth (I used wine)
- 1 to 2 cups of shredded Swiss or Gruyere
- 12-16 1 inch rounds of French bread OR thirds of hot dog buns OR fourths of hamburger buns (toasted in a 200 degree oven until hard, toasted— croutons)
- Prepare the onions. Make sure to refrigerate for at least half an hour, since the only thing that should make you cry these days is a good Taylor Reid Jenkin’s book. Take the refrigerated onions (never freeze or they get mushy) and slice thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin.
- Melt butter in a large, heavy pot over low heat and add oil. Mix onions in, cover, and let cook down on low for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, uncover to stir in sugar and salt. Sugar will help speed up the browning process. Increase heat a bit and cook for another 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally and take a whiff of the delicious onion-y goodness you’ll get soon enough. At this step, the onions will reach a deep brown color.
- After carmelization, sprinkle the onions with the flour and stir well. Cook for three minutes (this will help the soup thicken and keep the onions intact). Add the wine and bring heat to high for one minute to help reduce. Then, add the stock and bring to a simmer, partially covered, for thirty minutes. You can put the soup in the fridge at this point, or serve if you don’t want the croutony-cheesy baked goodness that can come
- If you’d like to finish, place your oven-safe bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. You can add two to three croutons and a hearty dose of cheese on top of a bowl (to your taste!).
- Bake soups for twenty minutes. Preheat broiler and finish under it for a minute or two, or until you get that lovely, bubbly crust.
May your onion soup be a romantic event for you. True love is kissing someone with onion breath. Everlasting, true love is going to bed next to someone whose skin smells like onions and still cuddling.