The Fresh Loaf

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Perfect Onion Soup

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md_massimino's picture
md_massimino

Perfect Onion Soup

I know this site is all about the bread but there's nothing better than a wedge of sourdough and this velvety onion soup.  I like this recipe for bunch of reasons.  It's cheap, consists of only a few basic ingredients, only dirties one pot and it's almost impossible to get wrong.  And did I mention it's delicious?


I based my recipe off of the classic Julia Child version.



  • 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced onions

  • 3 slices bacon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3 Tbsp flour

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 1 quart beef broth

  • 1 quart water

  • 1/2 cup white wine


Cook the bacon in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot.  After it's good and crispy take out the bacon and reserve for later.  Throw in the onions, cook on medium for 10 minutes stirring frequently.  Throw in the salt and sugar, continue to cook stirring constantly until the onions are all a uniform dark brown goodness.  Add the flour, cook for three minutes.  Add the wine, broth and 1 quart of water, cook for 30-40 minutes. 


Hack a wedge of bread, put some of the cooked bacon on top, maybe a handful of shredded swiss, and say goodbye to that winter chill.

davec's picture
davec

And the wine?


 


Do I drink the wine?


Great recipe.  I'm going to try it.


Dave

md_massimino's picture
md_massimino

What's funny is this last time I made it I almost forgot to put the wine in.  I wonder what that means?  The next time I make this I'm going to use beer instead of wine, will let you know how that one comes out.

davec's picture
davec

Onions and beer just seem to have a natural affinity.  Can't wait to hear how it turns out.


Dave

Bad Cook's picture
Bad Cook

What if I don't have the wine?  Just leave it out, or add in an equal amount of broth in its place?  Doesn't seem like 1/2 cup liquid would make much difference, though.

Janedo's picture
Janedo

White wine in this type of recipe does make a difference. The soup would be very good without, but it adds a subtle, wonderful flavor to this kind of dish.


I love onion soup!


Jane

md_massimino's picture
md_massimino

In almost every restaurant I've been to, the onion soup is normally finished with a doughy round of bread, a pound of cheese and thrown under the broiler.  The result is kind of a big gloppy mess.  I actually prefer the soup straight from pot with a relatively small amount of cheese on top because then you can really taste all of the flavors.


Here's a question, in France are you more likely to see onion soup finished like above or more simply adorned?

md_massimino's picture
md_massimino

I was wondering if you use red wine instead of white, I might have to give that a try as well.  I always have red wine but white wine not so much.  I figure with the beef broth and the already dark color it would be ok.  For another day I guess.


By the way, we ate this soup with a rye sourdough using a wheat starter from the KAF whole grain cookbook.  Not only was it delicious, but for the first time ever I got a decently formed batard.


 

johnster's picture
johnster

My wife has a recipe that uses dry vermouth.  As I am a gin martini guy, we always have a bottle of it in the house, anyway.  And, since we both love this soup, we buy it in BIG bottles.  :)


 


Let us know how your red wine experiment works.  In onion soup, I wonder how the tannins would work with it...


 


Johnster

Bad Cook's picture
Bad Cook

When I was in college we made a French Onion Soup in Home Ec class....it had the bread and cheese on top, was run under the broiler, and was delicious.  No wine, though, so I figure I could leave the wine out and it would be fine for me.  I don't drink and never have any kind of wine, beer, or liquor around, so that's why I'm wanting to know if I need to replace the 1/2 cup wine with more broth or just leave it out and it would be ok.


I have not had onion soup since that day in class (long time!), and I would really like to have more....no one else around my house would like it, though, and that's why I've never attempted making it at home.  Boy, it sure sounds good on a cold, gray, wintry day like today!

md_massimino's picture
md_massimino

If you don't drink I think you're fine leaving the wine out as it's just another flavor component.  Soup is great because it's more art than science, just put a little more water in and you're good to go.


Just had it for lunch again today, it makes enough to eat here and there for days.  Force those non-believers to try a spoonful, I think sometimes you hear onion soup and people automatically think super pungent,  burping up onions all day.  This soup doesn't hit me like that, maybe you can make some converts.

ivy b's picture
ivy b

Hi, I made an onion soup last week; thought nothing of it.  Had a friend over who happened to be here for some the next day. Today she came over for help with her crocheting and asked.. NO ONION SOUP?.. Nope, matzoh ball tonight.  Well, she had to have my recipe, and I had to think. Having a vegetarian daughter (who used to be vegan), I have adapted most recipes accordingly.  I just saute the onions, add a bit of flour and sugar to caramelize, add veggie stock or water or a combo and cook down a bit.  I use croutons and jarlsberg for my bread and cheese topping; we find it not as heavy that way.  :-)


ivy

pincupot's picture
pincupot

Hello!  Just wanted to add my two cents:


 


I use a brown or red miso to flavor my onion soup.  The onions are browned for an hour or more like up to 3 on a very low flame in butter.  I use thyme as a seasoning and miso.  I usually heat the water to just before boiling, add about 2-3 Tbl of miso to about 4-6 cups water, dissolve the miso and pour on top of the onions.  MMMMMmmmmm..... nothing beats a piece of crusty bread and Gruyere cheese melted on top of a bowl.  And I can feel good that the Miso is imparting not only a hearty flavor but enzymes and other good things for my body.


 


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Elise