Now that fall is here I thought it would be appropriate to start this week with a soup. You can find the recipe on page 52 of the October 2011 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine but apparently not on their web site. It was in their Fast, Easy, Fresh French Country Cooking section and I did like the idea of making French Onion Soup quickly (although the total time was noted to be 40 minutes).
Apparently the trick to fast caramelized onions is to use a dry and hot silicone surface pan (not Teflon). No kidding! I added the 2 medium finely chopped onions to the pan and literally in seconds they started to brown. You have to move them constantly or they will burn.
You were supposed to do this for 15 minutes and then add 1 tbsp of unsalted butter. I had to add the butter in around 8 minutes. They were getting close to burning and and the onions just seemed to be completely disappearing. This was going to be enough onions for 4 bowls of soup?
I thought it was going to be a cheap soup to make and then realized I was out of brandy! Oh well, a good investment for fall cooking. I removed the pan from heat and added 1 tbsp and cooked until absorbed.
Now you were supposed to add 4 cups of low salt beef broth to the pan but it was not going to fit in my skillet. I also did not think there were enough onions for 4 bowls of soup so I added the onions to a pot with around 2 cups of beef broth. At this time you are suppose to season with salt and pepper but I could not help it, I also added some freshly chopped thyme. I mean, I needed some additional flavour.
“Simmer until soup is reduced to 4 cups…” Um, wasn’t there already four cups of broth in the original recipe? I guess because you added some onions it boosted the volume but…???!!!
You were supposed to top the soup in ramekins with a slice of bread but I toasted mine in some olive oil and butter first.
I divided the broth between the two containers, added the bread and then coated with slices of Gruyere cheese that I ripped into thinnish pieces.
You were suppose to bake in a 450F oven for 4 minutes until bubbly and brown but I had to turn on the broiler to make that happen.
I was right, there really were not enough onions. I am so glad I used less broth and added the thyme. I could have had even more, to be honest, and I did not enjoy the texture of them being so finely chopped. Next time I think I will use my crockpot caramelized onions instead.
The funny part? This was the first time I made this soup for Reg. He looked at it in shock. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “Have I ever ordered this soup from a restaurant before?” I said no but did not connect the dots. Apparently, he has issues with this type of soup. I had no idea! He finds the whole bread on top of onions in a sea of soup topped with cheese to be very weird.
He managed to eat a spoonful. I asked how it tasted. “It actually taste great…” But he could not eat it. It was just too weird for him which I of course thought was bizarre! We have been together a long, long time. How could I not have known???
This was an OK but confusing version of French Onion Soup. Because I had to change it so much I can’t really rate it. If you want to make a fantastic restaurant-style version, try this one I made two years ago. I got great feedback on it and some of my readers are still making it!