First off, Happy New Year 2014! Here I am in my third year of food blogging, and loving it! Yes, I soaked my Black-Eyed Peas last night, and will be cooking them up today for dinner. I cannot start out the New Year without a big mess o’ black-eyed peas. But my recipe today is the classic take on French Onion Soup, with a couple of changes. For one, I didn’t have any Gruyere cheese, but I did have a big hunk of Brie cheese. I had a slight “argument” the other night with a friend of mine who said you can’t shred Brie cheese as it’s too soft, but I have pictures as proof! You just need to have it chilled really good.
The other change I made was to simmer it in my Crock Pot instead of over the stove, because, I’m all about easy! There are a few things I would change about this recipe next time I make it. For one, I would use ALL beef broth instead of a combination of chicken and beef broth. I think I would prefer the richness of all beef broth. Next, I would use a really dry wine instead of the sweet white wine I used (because that is all I had at the time). The caramelization of the onions already adds sweetness, and the sweet white made it a tad too sweet for me. I tempered that by adding some salt to my bowl and topping with some Parmesan cheese in addition to the Brie.
Next time I’d also splurge on some Gruyere cheese. The Brie was nice, but a bit too mellow. And last, the recipe I based this on said to use four to six medium onions. After four onions I deemed I had enough, but I really think I should have used five and maybe even six instead. But still, all in all a decent recipe, and I loved using the oven to caramelize the onions instead of sweating and stirring constantly on the stove. It worked out great!
French Onion Soup with Brie Cheese
Adapted from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, French Onion Soup
4 to 6 medium yellow onions, sliced thin
1 stick of butter
1 cup of white wine (preferably dry)
4 cups each homemade or low sodium chicken and beef broth (or all beef!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Thick slices of French baguette bread
Butter for bread
Grated Brie or Gruyere cheese, for topping
Additional Parmesan for topping
Salt to taste, if needed
I forgot the butter in my ingredients photo! But it’s not hard to forget once you start cooking. Start out by peeling then slicing your onions thin. It helps to have a really sharp knife. I’m not a great slicer of even thicknesses, but it all works out.
Next, add the butter to a large soup pot or dutch oven and melt it. After I took this shot of the elusive butter, doesn’t it look like the butter is melting over the planet earth from space? No? I’m very strange in that way.
Next, begin preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, add that big mess of sliced onions to the melted butter, stir around to coat, then cover and cook over medium heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Here they are after coated in the butter. It looked like plenty of onions to me at that point!
After giving a good stir after 20 minutes, add the covered pot to the 400-degree oven, cracking the lid a bit to help the browning. Since the lid to my pot was round, I had a hard time getting it to crack properly. After 30 minutes, I deemed cracking the lid was useless so uncovered it completely at that point, so you might want to too, if you have a round pot you are using. I gave them another good stir, then cooked for about 45 minutes more or so, stirring occasionally, until they were nice and brown.
Once your onions are all nice and brown and caramelized, take the pot out of the oven and put it over the stove top over medium heat. Add the cup of wine, then deglaze the pot, including scraping all the brown stuff off from the edges. Cook for about five more minutes until the wine reduces about half. Add the chicken and beef broths (or all beef), plus the two splashes of Worcestershire sauce and garlic.
At this point you can either simmer it for about 45 minutes on the stove top, or do like me and pour it into your slow cooker and keep it on warm until ready to eat. I made this during the daytime, so opted for the crock pot method, as it was way early to eat at that point. Plus, as I said, I like easy, and getting the main bulk of dinner out of the way early is good in my book!
About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, slice up the French bread baguette (enough for topping individual ramekins for the amount of people you are feeding), then butter them.
Put them on a rack in the oven on broil, until browned and crispy. Ooh these look delish!
Now ladle some soup into individual ramekins, top with baguette slices to fit, then top with the cheese(es). Broil for several minutes until melted and browned. Remove (carefully!) from oven, and serve immediately. This is a great basis for a good French Onion Soup with about half the fuss, so if you take my suggestions and prepare this the suggested way, it’s sure to please! For the printable recipe, scroll down below and click on the PDF link image. Happy New Year!