Monday, February 22, 2010

French Onion Soup and Quiche Anyone?

I have made quick versions of French Onion Soup before without even knowing that they were short cuts.  I have not made any in some time, so when I was flipping through the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook  (love this book....can't say enough good things about it) that the DH got for me for Christmas and saw the lengthy preparation for French Onion Soup.......I started to wonder what exactly I might be missing.  So......yesterday I set about to try this simple but time consuming recipe.  I will say that I did enjoy the end result.  It had a very rich flavour and was highly populated with beautifully caramelized onions so much so that the soup was almost thick from them. I ended up making 3/4 of the recipe indicated as I didn't think my son would be liking the whole 'onion' thing and I didn't want to be left with a lot of left overs.  I never thought that I could have frozen some.......maybe next time.  It's actually comical that I would like French Onion Soup as an I can vividly recall being forced to eat a whole bowl as a child which I promptly threw up.  Feeling that French Onion Soup on it's own would not be quite enough for dinner......I pondered a bit to come up with a suitable accompaniment.  I settled on a basic bacon and smokey cheddar Quiche.  Perfect....all ingredients that I had laying need to run to the store:)  I used the basic quiche recipe from the Edmonds Cookery Book given me by my good friend since I've been making my way through that book too......I could kill two birds with one stone.  End of story......perfect meal....I used two strips more bacon than called for in the quiche recipe and used smoked cheddar because that's what I had on hand.  I'd make it again for sure.  I have made quiche few times before and do not recall the roux that this recipe has in it.  I think it must help with the setting of the quiche.  In any event it rose quite high then settled upon cooling. I probably should have even removed it from the oven a minute or two earlier as the center seemed set when I took it out......convection always seem to cook quite a bit faster.  Will most definitely make it again as I was very happy with the result.
If you have an afternoon to kill......why not give this French Onion Soup recipe a try?  It isn't difficult, so you can get house work done while it's in the oven for the first few hours, and during the last simmer time too.
French Onion Soup
3 tbsp butter
4 pounds yellow or cooking onions sliced 1/4 inch thick
salt to taste
2 cups water, plus extra for deglazing
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
6 sprigs thyme, tied together
1 bay leaf
ground black pepper

French bread, cut 1/2 inch thick to fit in soup bowls
2 cups shredded greyere cheese

Place sliced onions, butter and pinch of salt into a greased (sprayed) large dutch oven.  Cook covered for 1 hour in a preheated 400 F oven on the rack on lower middle position.  Remove from oven and stir onions scraping and onion stuck on sides or bottom.  Return to oven with lid ajar for up to 1 3/4 hours stirring after 1 more hour.  Remove pot and place over medium high heat for about 15 minutes.  This is to allow a brown crust to form on the bottom of the pot.  Turn heat down if the browning is occurring too quickly. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup of water and repeat this process 3 more times. (each time takes about 15 minutes you don't want it to burn!) Now do an additional deglazing with the sherry, after which you will leave on the heat for 5 minutes or until the sherry has evaporated.  Now add the water, chicken broth, beef broth, thyme and bay leaf.  Increase heat to bring to a simmer then reduce it to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.   You may add additional beef stock if you find the soup is too thick with my husband did.  Discard spices and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Put bread slices in a 400 F oven to toast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes or until golden, then remove.
Raise oven rack to 6 inches below broiler and turn on broiler.  Fill broiler safe bowls with soup and top with toasted bread slices and shredded cheese. Broil on a baking sheet until cheese if melted and bubbling, about 3 minutes.  What them carefully and make sure that the bread is covered by cheese as the exposed bread might burn from the high heat.  Cool 5 minutes, then serve.


AlisonR said...

This looks & sounds really, really yummy. Smoked cheddar and bacon . . . mmmmmm! I'm going to be thinking about this all day. I had a similar spewing incident with the cheddar-beer soup I was forced to eat ONCE as a child (think sharp cheese sauce with beer in it - sounds not bad now . . . as a sauce, mind you). Love, love French Onion.

Kate said...

Mmmmmm... French onion soup is my favorite! Love love love! Now I'm going to make this soup- it just sounds so good! Thanks!

Lori said...

I just love French Onion soup! Quiche is really a new favorite of mine.

LittleRed said...

Thanks everyone! It is a very strongly flavoured soup so you should taste it for strength of flavour and add extra broth if you find it too strong. Jim found there to be too many onions in it for his liking.....but I liked it that way.