Onion Soup for the Soul

There is just something about soup.

Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners once wrote:

"Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give you a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? ...Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?"

Soup is comfort, it is home, it seeps down into the bones and warms through the soul.

Being as I am here in Argentina, after nearly 3 months of new sights and sounds and the stresses of moving in with my boyfriend- I thought that now would be the time. Sometimes life calls for soup.

Beethoven says that “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” I think he may have gotten this around the wrong way. Good soup in fact, makes for a pure heart and a happy belly, so all worries of the smothering heat outside away and out with the onions!

French onion soup at its base is onions, broth, and croutons topped with cheese. Besides these three, chefs have long been in debate about the proper way to make an onion soup. Some add sherry or brandy at the final cooking stages and some use vegetable stock, while others beef. According to the encyclopedia, “Onion soups have been popular at least as far back as Roman times. They were, throughout history, seen as food for the poor people. The modern version of this soup originates in France in the 17th century, made from dry bread or croutons, beef broth, and caramelized onions. It is often broiled in a ramekin traditionally with Gruyere melted on top.”

The absolutely, must stress, key step of this soup is to caramelize the sugars in the onions. This means you must have the patience to cook the heck out of the onions, for at the very least 30 minutes, some chefs can take hours to do this properly- but my onions took about 45 minutes (and with the heat in the kitchen that was about all I could take anyway).

French Onion Soup
adapted from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book

2 tablespoons butter
3 cups onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp flour
1 cup dry white whine (such as Chardonnay)

1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaves, & parsley sprigs) since it may not always be the easiest to find all of these 3 things in sprigs and tie them together, you could add all dried ingredients into a cheese cloth- or just add them into the soup if you don't mind a few bits of green.

3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups beef stock

For Cheesy-Bread on Top:

French bread
Gruyere cheese

What to do:

Melt the butter on a low heat and add the onions, cooking for at least 30 minutes, more if you can stand it, until the onions are golden brown and very well cooked. Add the flour and garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two.

Add the wine and simmer for 15 minutes, until thick and reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 , add in the herbs and stocks, then simmer with out a lid for 30 minutes stirring every so often.

While your soup is on the back burner take out your french bread and slice small rounds. Toast them slightly on both sides and then cover the tops in grated cheese.

The true french onion soup would then be added into oven proof bowls, the cheesy breads placed on top and the whole top of the soup covered in cheese and stuck in the oven for a few minutes to form a nice cheesy crust top. I, however, am extremely lacking in the oven proof bowl department, and thus cooked my cheesy toasts in the oven until melted and crisp and simply floated the cheating cheese toasts on my finished soup.

Before doing so however, take you beautifully simmering soup off the burner and let cook a few minutes until you feel you can risk it in the blender. Blend about two-thirds of your soup, and put back in your pot (take out the bouquet garni first, or skim off a bit of the green as best you can). Heat your now blended soup just a tad, and add your toasts, or cook in the oven as stated above- and serve.


Tea said...

Hi Katy, thanks for stopping by my blog. It's wonderful to "meet" another soup aficionado and lover of things lemon:-) We also have Vashon in common (my mom moved there last year and I have been enjoying visiting her).

This post is lovely--and your writing as well. I see we're both new to food bloging--are you enjoying it as much as I am? I'm going to add you to my blog roll and follow along with your adventures!

darlamay said...

Thanks for visiting Messy Cucina! I love French Onion soup but have never tried making it myself. Have fun in Argentina!

darlamay said...

P.S. I grew up in the beautiful state of WA too! Curlew, north of Spokane. I got married and followed my husband to Iowa :P not exactly as new and exciting as Argentina.

b'gina said...

I saw your comment over on FarmgirlFare, so I stopped by. I love French Onion Soup. The first recipe I ever used was all caramelized onions with a tiny bit of water and brandy at the end. It was almost too rich. Now I use broth like this recipe. Whatever, it's delish.

Katy said...

Tea, Oh I love meeting people I have something in common with. I adore vashon and I am so thankful I got to grow up there. Thank you for your lovely comments about my blog I am glad you enjoyed reading it.

darlamay, thanks for stopping by, I enjoyed your blog too. I have never been to Curlew but I have been to Spokane and I think it is beautiful. I suppose new and exciting is all in the eyes of the beholder, I am getting used to Argentina now and I think going to Iowa would be an exciting change! :)

b'gina, I am glad to find a fellow lover of French Onion Soup. Thanks for taking the time to take a little peak at my site. I love FarmgirlFare it makes me feel as if I am rather closer to the country than I am at the moment.

And thanks to everyone for leaving comments! I adore to hear from you all!

generic viagra said...

The combination of the Chardonnay and the gruyere cheese, make this onion soup perfect.
I can't wait to try it at home.

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