Sunday, January 06, 2008

Onion soup

I'd been looking for something lighter to kick off the new year with. And as I sat there this morning paging through a Donna Hay cookbook, I realized: I don't *want* lighter. It's winter. I'm supposed to be having rich, slow-cooked, filling stuff, not salads. I realized this when I came to a full page picture of French onion soup and nearly started drooling.

And really, all it is is onions and broth... it's rich, but it's not wholly unhealthy, so I don't feel quite as bad about having this as my first "real" post of 2008. I started with the Donna Hay recipe, and then incorporated ideas from a couple of other onion soup recipes (the bourbon and red pepper flakes are all me, however). This would easily serve 4 as a starter, and 2-3 as a main course.

Onion soup

Onion soup

1 large red onion
2-3 small yellow onions
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried ground thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup water
about 4 cups beef broth (2 cans is fine, use the low-sodium option)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Cheese toast:
1 slice of bread for each serving
Butter at room temperature
Shredded cheese

Thinly slice the onions. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onions, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring every couple of minutes, until onions are golden, 15-20 minutes (for darker onions, simply continue cooking at this point until they're the desired shade of brown). Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Add the flour and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the bourbon and cook for 1 minute to remove most of the alcohol. Add the mustard, water, broth, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a slow boil and allow to cook, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 30-45 minutes.

When the soup is almost done, assemble the cheese toasts. Preheat broiler. Butter one side of each bread slice, top with desired amount of shredded cheese (I go light on the cheese because this is a filling soup). Place the toasts in the broiler and cook until the cheese has melted and browned, about 5-7 minutes.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and top each bowl with a cheese toast.

*If you're without bourbon, you can substitute brandy, wine, sherry, or just leave out the alcohol entirely.

Onion soup


bySarah said...

And I am drooling over that cheese toast, it looks delicious!

Mel said...

wow looks so good! I've gotta make this when winter comes!