Easy French Onion Soup

Easy French Onion Soup

Laura and I both like doing these look-back posts where we pick out favourites of the year. But it’s really impos­si­ble this year. There are so many great images cre­ated by our won­der­ful Maya Vis­nyei, so many recipes we’re proud to have pub­lished and so much great feed back from all of you. But I’m going to pick this one for two rea­sons. It was one of the first reader-requested posts. We’ve been chat­ting with all of you more on Face­book and find­ing out what’s most use­ful to you. When I asked about soups I got so many responses I’m still work­ing my way through them! Aaaand the other rea­son is that my jeans are so tight from the Olympic-level eat­ing I’ve been doing that soup is the only thing I can face now! — C.M.

I’m a soup lover in a house of soup doubters. Ben thinks he doesn’t like soup, but actu­ally does and the kids… well, they’ve both entered a phase of pro­found sus­pi­cion of any­thing new. Do you see how hard it is for me? I could have  a bowl of soup every day. And my friend and bril­liant nutri­tion­ist,Theresa Albert, assures me soup is one of the best foods for your health. When it’s a healthy soup, not only can it include mul­ti­ple serv­ings of veg­gies but it fills us up in ways other foods don’t. A meal that starts with soup will end up con­tain­ing fewer calo­ries than one with­out because you’ll be sat­is­fied sooner. Of course, calo­rie counts aren’t an issue for kids as young as mine but, hey, this is a site for the whole family!

When I asked SPC read­ers which soups they’d like us to cook up (we fre­quently ask ques­tions like that on our Face­book page if you want to have more input — we love hear­ing from you!), fre­quent guest Natalee Caple sug­gested French Onion soup, which sev­eral other read­ers imme­di­ately agreed was a great idea for this time of year. I love French Onion soup — love the earthy broth and the stringy, melty cheese — but won­dered if it was kid friendly enough. I can just imag­ine my kids plung­ing a spoon into the bready-y lid and send­ing soup all over the show. So, I McGyvered this slightly to make it eas­ier to man­age. I chopped the onions into smaller pieces and cubed up the bread that tops the soup. I also blended a bit of Parme­san cheese together with a more tra­di­tional Gruyere because I knew I’d get atti­tude about full on Gruyere. But per­haps your chil­dren are less sus­pi­cious of new cheeses?

We all loved this soup. It’s per­fect for a cold win­ter week­end after you’ve been out play­ing in the snow. In fact, it may be good enough to con­vert even soup skeptics…

SOUP & SANDWICH WEEK: DECONSTRUCTED FRENCH ONION SOUP

Laura and I both like doing these look-back posts where we pick out favourites of the year. But it’s really impos­si­ble this year. There are so many great images cre­ated by our won­der­ful Maya Vis­nyei, so many recipes we’re proud to have pub­lished and so much great feed back from all of you. But I’m going to pick this one for two rea­sons. It was one of the first reader-requested posts. We’ve been chat­ting with all of you more on Face­book and find­ing out what’s most use­ful to you. When I asked about soups I got so many responses I’m still work­ing my way through them! Aaaand the other rea­son is that my jeans are so tight from the Olympic-level eat­ing I’ve been doing that soup is the only thing I can face now! — C.M.

I’m a soup lover in a house of soup doubters. Ben thinks he doesn’t like soup, but actu­ally does and the kids… well, they’ve both entered a phase of pro­found sus­pi­cion of any­thing new. Do you see how hard it is for me? I could have  a bowl of soup every day. And my friend and bril­liant nutri­tion­ist,Theresa Albert, assures me soup is one of the best foods for your health. When it’s a healthy soup, not only can it include mul­ti­ple serv­ings of veg­gies but it fills us up in ways other foods don’t. A meal that starts with soup will end up con­tain­ing fewer calo­ries than one with­out because you’ll be sat­is­fied sooner. Of course, calo­rie counts aren’t an issue for kids as young as mine but, hey, this is a site for the whole family!

When I asked SPC read­ers which soups they’d like us to cook up (we fre­quently ask ques­tions like that on our Face­book page if you want to have more input — we love hear­ing from you!), fre­quent guest Natalee Caple sug­gested French Onion soup, which sev­eral other read­ers imme­di­ately agreed was a great idea for this time of year. I love French Onion soup — love the earthy broth and the stringy, melty cheese — but won­dered if it was kid friendly enough. I can just imag­ine my kids plung­ing a spoon into the bready-y lid and send­ing soup all over the show. So, I McGyvered this slightly to make it eas­ier to man­age. I chopped the onions into smaller pieces and cubed up the bread that tops the soup. I also blended a bit of Parme­san cheese together with a more tra­di­tional Gruyere because I knew I’d get atti­tude about full on Gruyere. But per­haps your chil­dren are less sus­pi­cious of new cheeses?

We all loved this soup. It’s per­fect for a cold win­ter week­end after you’ve been out play­ing in the snow. In fact, it may be good enough to con­vert even soup skeptics… 

pho­tos by Maya Vis­nyei

Easy French Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 onions
  • 1 clove of gar­lic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp but­ter
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • salt and pep­per to taste
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cups stock (I used a low sodium chicken stock but many recipes call for beef)
  • 1 Tbsp bal­samic vine­gar
  • half a stick of baguette
  • 1 cup or so of grated Gruyere and Parme­san mixed.

Method

Trim the ends off the onions and peel off the papers.

Cut each onion in half length­wise and then lay each half down flat on your cut­ting board.

Now slice those halves into the thinnest slices you can

Depend­ing on the size on your onions, you might even want to chop those rings in half

In a big pot or Dutch oven, melt your but­ter and toss in the onion slices, minced gar­lic, sugar, thyme and pinch of salt and pep­per.

Give it all a lit­tle stir and then let it sweat over medium low heat for 15 to 20 min­utes.

Stir and turn over the heap of onions every few min­utes to make sure it's all cook­ing evenly.

The onions will become very soft and caramelized but watch they don't get too dark

Sprin­kle the flour over the onion mix­ture and stir it together.

It will make it look a bit sticky.

Now add the vine­gar and a cup of stock.

Stir well, scrap­ing the bot­tom of the pot to deglaze all the good­ness that will be stick­ing there.

Add the rest of the stock.

Allow to sim­mer for about 10 min­utes, although it could bub­ble away longer if you need it to

While your soup is sim­mer­ing away you can get the sand­wich part going.

Turn your oven onto broil.

Cut the bread into about inch thick slices.

Cut as many slices as bowls of soup you'll be serving.

Lay them out on a cookie sheet and now put a layer of the cheese mix on each piece of bread

Pop it all in the oven on a high rack and keep an eye on them.

You want the cheese to melt and bub­ble and the bread to brown

pho­tos by Maya Visnyei

I’ve heard sto­ries of peo­ple who get dis­tracted by Twit­ter and burn meals.… Any­way. Pull the bread out of the oven and let it cool a bit. Once they’re cool enough to han­dle cut the bread into large crouton-like cubes. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a slice of bread’s worth of croutons.

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